You Need To Wear Many Hats… But You Shouldn’t Wear Them All

You can't wear ALL the hats. You'll just look silly.

Last month, I wrote a piece on spec for a new online startup. I wouldn’t typically do such a thing, but I was excited about the forthcoming website, and the project was backed by several companies I admired.

When the piece was killed, I was disappointed, but the editor I was in contact with assured me it had nothing to do with me. She told me that her and her superiors liked my writing style, and wanted to give me another assignment. Despite misgivings, I went ahead with it, working my ass off to get the piece done before deadline.

Then, the second piece was killed. We like your writing, the editor wrote to me, but the two posts you’ve written for us fail to demonstrate an understanding of what people are interested in or intrigued by.

Lemme tell you. That email really ruined my day.

Yes, I was angry at myself for doing work on spec. Twice. But I was more upset because I felt insulted by the implication that I didn’t know what people wanted to read… and I was the target audience!

[Read more…]

How To Make The Most Of Your Business Lunch

About five years ago, after going back and forth over some story ideas, an editor from a national women’s magazine invited me out to lunch. I did a little happy dance, and then promptly freaked the eff out. Though mostly over what shoes I would wear.

Fast forward to our lunch date. After a bit of small talk, the editor asked me to pitch her some story ideas. I had come prepared with several. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t completely unprepared. Unfortunately, all of the ideas I’d written down were better fits for every section but hers.


Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with another editor from another national magazine. And yes, I’m still worried about what shoes I’ll wear. But I’m also making a bigger effort to be prepared. How?

[Read more…]

Has the Editing Process Crushed Your Soul?

red pen

Okay. I really used Tracked Changes.

In most of the editing I do at YourTango, I try to have an extremely light touch. I feel that I don’t have the right to rip apart a writer’s words, even if I would have said something in a different way.

In other cases (and not too often), I find myself cutting and slashing and rearranging and even sometimes rewriting, and it makes me feel so uneasy. Even if it needs it.

I’ve been working on an essay I assigned for the site. I did a lot of cutting and slashing and rearranging and sometimes even some rewriting. I went back and forth with the writer several times. Look this over, I told her. I want to make sure I haven’t misrepresented you or the research. I want to ensure that I haven’t lost your voice.

She made comments and made suggestions, and admitted that she didn’t have much experience being edited.

[Read more…]

Are Writing And Editing Mutually Exclusive?

red pen

[Photo via]

Once upon a time, I wrote terrible poetry and dreamed of becoming a published author. 18 years later, I received a degree in writing, literature, and publishing, and began considering a number of different career paths.

Foremost among them was magazine editing.

[Read more…]