Several years ago, I wrote a profile piece for a national children’s magazine. To make a long story short, the photographer they’d hired fell through, and the magazine’s art director called and asked if I could take the required picture instead. I agreed, but since I am not a photographer, I asked if he would tell me exactly what he wanted while I recorded it on my answering machine–just so I wouldn’t make any mistakes.
To my surprise, he cleared his throat and haltingly said, “Uh, I, uh, I have a cold.”
From that experience, I learned editors REALLY are people. Like me, they have difficult, yet hopefully fun, jobs to do; and yet they also have insecurities. The only problem is they hold the fruit of my dreams in their hands. But still, knowing they’re people helps me navigate the publishing maze with a little less trepidation.
In many ways, it’s like working with a well-meaning but not all-knowing building contractor. Most of the time he’s c orrect and knows exactly what he’s doing, but not always. Sometimes a laundry drain doesn’t work right or a wall isn’t perfectly square. And sometimes an editor rejects us. But, hey, he’s (or she’s) only human. They make mistakes, too.
I just hope I can always tell the difference between a mistake and an opportunity to correct–or rebuild, as the case may be.
You can read more of Ronda’s writings over on TheWriteBlocks.