When I was an editor, I reasoned like an editor. But these days I am a full-time writer, and I have put away the editorial mind-set. Now I say, before you criticize writers, you should write a piece in their shoes.
Did you say paranoid? Is it paranoid to wonder why an editor hasn't returned your calls for two weeks, even though she has been sitting on your piece for four? Did you say egomaniacal? What self-respecting egomaniac would put up with the enraging powerlessness of the freelance writer, totally dependent on the whims of half-literate editors for a pathetic drip-drip-drip of income. Oh, for a regular paycheck and health care, so you wouldn't have to suck up to some jerk of an editor for the next mortgage payment. ("Yes, I see. You want it to be iambic pentameter with internal rhymes. I've never read an analysis of the political situation in Pakistan done that way before. What a good idea!")
So this is an apology to any writers I may have treated callously over my years as an editor. If I didn't answer your e-mail, I'm sorry. If the check was late or the amount less than agreed on, please forgive me. If I shut my office door, turned off the lights and hid under the desk when I heard you coming, I deeply regret such childish behavior.
On the Internet, they don't have editors. Or they don't have many. Writers rule, and a thought can go straight from your head onto the Net. That used to sound hellish. Now it sounds like heaven.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
And one more today on writers v. editors
Couldn't resist sharing this gem by Michael Kinsley in Time.