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    Editors are People too, Right?

    An editor emailed me the other day to tell me my 1,500-word piece on movie watchers was too long for the Internet.

    I could practically hear her voice snap, "People don't have any patience anymore, and on the Internet they especially don't want to have to scroll just to read your opinion on how people watch TV. You need to learn more about the Internet."

    Rather than be insulted, I'm trying to remember that editors have lives, too. Maybe she was constipated that day. Maybe Starbucks ran out of her favorite latte. Maybe she had a reason to get her panties in a bunch -- It's just that I was there to feel the sting as I read her reply.

    If I have this writing thing down correctly, after reading everything I can wrap my eyeballs around, a writer pretty much has to bare her very soul when she exposes herself to an editor.

    And that's the only way to get our work out there.

    And after putting my bare flesh out in front of an editor, I'm a little surprised when I get a kind rejection letter that starts out, "Your work is very nice, but it just doesn't fit in our upcoming schedule." Especially after I sweat bullets after the work.

    So I change the piece to fit the magazine and try again.

    The next editor says it looks like it could fit their publication, but he has been inundated with submissions this month and asks me to contact him in a year. I could contract some horrible disfiguring disease in a year and decide to go to Tibet.

    Don't these editors realize the power they have over us writers?

    Oh wait, some of them may be on power trips and are very well aware that they are sucking out the very marrow of your bones with glee as they hit you with an unkind rejection. My self-esteem is so bad after receiving one of these salvoes that I question whether I'm qualified to quote Hemingway or find a Dickens reference to save my soul.

    In other words, I'm a puddle of pudding.

    Then I got a very nice rejection -- sounds like an oxymoron to me! -- from the same editor who advised me to learn more about the Internet only this time, her email made her sound as she were the same species as me. She sounded like an ordinary person -- like me -- who probably suffers from bunions and rude in-laws just like everybody else. She gave me some suggestions on how to go about changing my piece to make it acceptable for her apparently highly discerning readers.

    I have now concluded that there are editors out there in the ether who will work with new writers, providing you are persistent and flexible.

    So okay. I can do that.

    Get ready, Editor World. I am on the case!

    Copyright © 2001 Lyne Royce

    Lyne Royce is a freelance writer living in the desert east of Phoenix. She lives with her devoted husband and six spoiled and previously stray cats. She's fervent about Native American history and enjoys reading books on the subject when she has the time. After 15 years teaching software classes, and two years doing Web site design, Lyne decided to listen seriously to her muse and has participated in writing workshops and clinics on the Web, including the Writer's Digest Workshops' Fundamentals of Non-Fiction Writing, Focus on the Non-Fiction Magazine Article; WriteRead.com's Query Letter Clinic; Writers.com's workshop Writing and publishing Magazine Articles; the humor clinic, Writing from the Left Side of the Brain with Jane Combs; and Secrets of the Professional Freelancer at Coffeehouse.com. She belongs to several writers discussion groups but her favorite, Writers Pad, is where she enjoys learning from her writer friends on a daily basis that it is possible for a writer to become a published writer.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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