January 14, 2013
How to Date Your Editor by Pamela Mytroen
The first article you publish in a magazine or a newspaper is a little like a first date with your Editor. You really don’t know fully what he expects of you and he doesn’t understand your style yet. It’s like being picked up in a truck with hay sticking out the tailgate when you were hoping for a Delorean. You read the article you’ve been looking forward to and you turn red and bite your lip.
I look back on some of my first articles and they made me a little disappointed or even upset. One of the Editors took out my last two paragraphs, put her own ending in, and changed the whole style of my article. Another first article came out with several spelling mistakes, and yet another one included a poem that I had not written and it endorsed a false theology. Wow, I felt the heat in my face.
Now sometimes there are unforgivable characters that we must ditch after that first date, but in most cases, it just takes some time and a few fumbled dance steps until we get to know which way the guy is leading. It’s the same with Editors. If we quit writing because of that first bumbling article, we are missing out on what might have turned into a wonderful and profitable relationship.
In looking back on the above mentioned articles I wrote, it wasn’t entirely the Editor’s fault. The blame needed to be shared between both of us. If I had continued writing for these Editors I would have become more aware of their expectations and they may have come to appreciate my style and input as well.
As I consider the newspaper that I’ve written for for several years, I realize that we had some rough moments at first too. We both had misunderstandings of each other. But as I continued ‘courting’ my Editor and sending her more articles, I became more aware of the way she thought about things, and what she valued and wanted from me. I grew to have enough confidence to make suggestions, and we began to trust each other.
Think of your first articles. Were you disappointed and quit writing for that Editor? Maybe it just needed a little more time to work out some of your differences. Have you ever considered going back to write for those markets again? Send the Editor another piece or two. Maybe there’s still a spark there. Just don’t give up after that first date!