Freelance writers often have complicated and mysterious relationships with their editors. In order to make the collaboration a little easier, here are seven things all freelance writers should know about their editors.
Deadlines Aren’t Set in Stone
Writers always have deadlines to follow, and those deadlines are responsible for significant amounts of stress. While deadlines are important, they aren’t as rigid as your editors would like you to think. Editors always leave room for unexpected circumstances. While you should always strive for your deadline, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension if you really need it.
Stories Matter More than Policies
All publications have unique policies regarding the material they publish, and it’s important that all stories meet certain criteria and fit a certain form. That being said, the content of a story is far more important than anything else. An editor is almost always willing to work with a writer and find a way to make something fit their publication if the story is good enough.
Editors Like Talking on the Phone
Most of the communication done between freelance writers and their editors is over email. The written word feels very natural to everyone involved, but the phone shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s oftentimes easier for an editor to speak with you on the phone. Instead of writing about a complicated matter in an email, ask to schedule a phone call to discuss it real-time instead.
Editors Do More than Edit
Editors have many more responsibilities than just editing the work of their writing staff. They need to do things like plan editorial calendars, manage other in-house staff members, plan assignments, sometimes writer their own work, and much more. Remember that an editor’s job goes beyond editing, so be forgiving if you think they’re not giving you enough attention.
Editors Make Important Changes
Because editors do more than edit, you should realize that they don’t waste time making edits unless they’re really necessary. Accordingly, you should take their rewrites and suggestions more seriously, because they aren’t just doing it for the hell of it. Remember that they know the publication better than you, and trust the opinions they give you about their work.
Management is Always Changing
Don’t get too comfortable working with one editor, because management in the publishing world changes frequently. You could be suddenly assigned to a new editor, or you may need to collaborate with an old editor on a new assignment. It’s important to maintain good relationships with your editors and to have a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to your coworkers.
Editors Understand Being a Writer
Most of the editors you work for have paid their dues as a writer themselves. They earned their position at the top, so they can also appreciate and understand what it’s like to be a freelance writer. While it can make some editors push harder and expect more, in general editors can empathize with your goals and challenges and make for better mentors because of it.
Joshua Reynolds is a professional freelance writer. He is often working on improving his writing skills and keeps in constant communication with his editor and other writers.
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