Editors get a bad rap, right?
I mean they are the people who get paid to be critical, point out mistakes and line our pieces with more red than a gift display on Valentine’s Day.
But, are they really all that bad?
We always hear stories of editors who are downright mean and their goal is to make our job as freelance writers more difficult. But, this is not the case with all editors. Most are kind and focused on helping you become a better writer.
But…and this a BIG but…
Every once in a while, you may come across an editor who rubs you the wrong way, who gets on your last nerve and makes you wonder why you ever became a freelance writer in the first place.
If you haven’t had this experience, you are lucky. It’s probably not common. But, unfortunately it happened to me.
I encountered such an editor early on in my career… and it was not fun at all. Let me tell you the story of what happened.
How it Began
Here I was in my dream job…
I was just starting to earn good money as a freelance writer. I would get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast and proceed to start my day in my pajamas! What could be better, right?
Life was good. My career was moving along smoothly. Naturally, there were small occasional hiccups, but I was earning decent money, and all from the comfort of my own home, getting a few new freelance writing jobs here and there. In addition, my income was beginning to rise month after month.
How could it get even better? Well, it did! Or so I thought in the beginning…
I snagged a gig with a high-profile website. I wrote my first article and the editor loved it. I knew they were super strict with sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and the technical aspects of writing. So, I was thrilled when I got such a great review and I was hired as a result!
I was off and running and I kept writing as fast as my fingers could type on my keyboard (which consequently wasn’t that fast!).
As I was writing I was thinking to myself, “This is easy. Everyone says how strict this company can be, but they loved my first article. I’m that good I guess!” I wrote three more articles, smiled at my work and sent them off expecting to hear how good they were.
The Nasty Editor
The phone rang and I recognized the number. Perhaps they wanted to offer me more money per article. That would be so wonderful!
I cheerfully picked up the phone. It was the editor. Before I could say hello, he tore into me and ripped my articles apart! He went line by line in my piece and proceeded to tell me how horribly wrong each sentence was. He was speaking in such a condescending tone that I was literally speechless. I couldn’t even answer his questions. He was scolding me like I was a child.
I hung up the phone and cried.
How could he speak to me that way?
He loved my first article. What happened?
That was one of the most negative experiences I’ve had as a freelance writer. I still remember it to this day as if it were yesterday.
But, something interesting happened right after I was able to compose myself and think about the conversation.
A light bulb went off.
Although the editor was wrong in his approach and his communication skills left a lot to be desired, he made me realize some critical flaws in my writing that I never saw before. From that day forward I looked at my writing with a new set of eyes. What I would overlook, I now corrected and I was able to easily see what the issues were. As a result, I was able to elevate my writing to a new level.
Before long, I had editors once again praising my writing and begging me to do more. My gigs went from $25 an article to $40+ on high-profile websites and it didn’t end there.
With my newfound sense of excellence in writing, I then snagged a gig for a large internet marketing blog for $50 an article and each one landed me exposure to thousands of people who read the blog daily. That one gig led to a lot of businesses and agencies calling me asking me to write for their blogs and for their clients.
In a short period of time, I was able to double my rates, earning $100+ for articles and charging $250 a page for eBooks. My career skyrocketed!
How I Did it
I took my anger, frustration and aggravation and harnessed it into inspiration!
I worked harder than I ever had before to prove that editor was wrong about me.
I learned more about writing…about grammar…about sentence structure. I read articles that were rated A+ and tried to emulate how they were executed.
I networked on social media sites, and I went after bloggers and clients on LinkedIn. I emailed them and offered my services. A lot of people didn’t respond, but some did. Those that returned my email usually hired me. Now I felt like I was running a full-fledged freelance writing business.
What is the moral of this story?
Editors are your friend. Okay, maybe not the ones who don’t know how to communicate correctly, but in general, editors can help you become better writers, and as you improve, it will open up new income streams for you.
Don’t take what editors tell you personally. They are just critiquing your work, not who you are. And, any improvements you can make, will help you in your career.
And, if you ever do encounter a nasty editor (I hope you don’t), you can politely tell them they need to speak to you with respect. There is no excuse for that.
The Bottom Line
My encounter with this rude editor became one of the highlights of my career, at least as far as my earnings are concerned. Without that wake-up call I wouldn’t be making the six-figure income I am today.
The funny thing is that before this experience, I thought my writing was up to a high standard. I was sorely mistaken! I didn’t realize how much I had to improve and, at the time, I was extremely upset at that editor.
I’ve learned that every cloud really does have a silver lining. Even when it hurts and you’re frustrated, accept each challenge as a re-direct and an eye-opening experience that has the ability to make you better and change your life.
- Did it hurt to be scolded like a child? Yes.
- Did I want to run away and never write again? Yes.
- Do I wish I could go back and give that editor a piece of my mind? Yes, and I probably would have if he had contacted me now.
But I didn’t let that encounter stop me. I took it and used it to fuel my passion.
Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your goals. If I can do it, so can you.
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