March 31, 2010 § 3 Comments
How bitter is the sting of rejection. I’ve had my first real taste of what feels like to have someone tear your writing to shreds. Bluntly, it sucks. Writers 101 is to not take it personally. It’s a sort of, it’s not you, it’s them kind of thing. Ummm, okay, that’s like when someone starts off a sentence with no offense and you immediately know you’re going to be offended, i.e. “No offense, but I’m just not attracted to you.” How can you not take it personally, at least a little?
I am a volunteer writer for an online publication that focuses on sustainable travel. About every other month or so I come up with an idea, research it, and then write a short piece for publication. To date, I have never really had any problems with the changes made by the editorial staff. However, when I saw my story, now screaming red, it was like being back in freshman English class with Mr. Rennie, where no matter what I did to my essays he always wanted them a different way. It is pretty demoralizing when the number of corrections far outweighs the number of original words and sentences left. Some of the changes add clarity and that makes me glad there are such things as editors. Other changes seem to strip the piece of my personal style and tack someone else’s on. But for what purpose? I’m not writing for the New York Times or National Geographic, here. What mold is the editor trying to put me into?
It is my writing, or it was. I feel uncomfortable having something published with my name under it, if at print time it hardly reflects my original words and style. Maybe up to this point the editors have just been too nice and I need this wonderful wake up call to shift me into a higher gear. Maybe my writing really just isn’t up to snuff. Maybe, I need to accept that if I really have visions of being a writer, it is a long hard, cold road that is awaiting me and I’m going to constantly have to deal with major editorial changes. Or, perhaps I really shouldn’t take it personally. I should instead accept the fact that the editor and myself have our different but equally valid opinions about reporting style. If only my story hadn’t looked like the clawings of a mad feral cat.