jordanrosenfeld

Editors Are People Too

In Business of Writing, Musings on March 25, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I’ve found that it’s all too easy to pin our writerly anxiety about publication on the editors we pitch and submit to, whether as freelance writers or as an author waiting to hear back from a book or proposal out on submission.  Most likely your family, spouse or friends are a tad sick of hearing about how nervous you are…so those feelings end up aimed at the wrong people. You might accidentally think of them as purposely withholding an answer about your precious pitch, or spitefully telling you that it isn’t what they’re looking for. You might even think that they went out of their way to tell you what was wrong with something you pitched. These are understandable, but I think, unnecessary feelings.

You know that little trick that’s supposed to help actors overcome stage fright–picturing the audience in their underwear? Well I like to think of editors as the real people they are. The kind of people who groan when their alarm clock goes off and hit the snooze button for a few more minutes before they have to face the inevitably chock full email in-box or slush pile, the one that waits for them day after day like some looming tower of pressure. I like to imagine editors runing a pair of pantyhose by snagging them on the underside of a desk; exploding their  lasagne all over the inside of the microwave; exchanging gossip or celebrity trash over their stacks of manuscripts; enjoying a delicious afternoon latte on a quiet bench somewhere where no assistant or editorial director or yet another damn writer can bother them with questions about when, why, or…why not.

I like to imagine my editors sliding into a comfy pair of jammies at the end of the day, heaving a groan of satisfied relief that the day is over, that they can turn it all off for a little while, and just be a person again who doesn’t owe anybody an answer.

Because that’s a person I can understand. A person I know is just doing their job, one they probably love, but which also kicks their ass with the workload.

So go easy on the editors. They’re only people too.

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