Princess (that would be me) has not had a good week. I’ve finally been introduced to the “real” world of writing which through my cunning and wiles (and luck) I’ve managed to avoid for the past 4 years.
Here’s the deal. Rewrites in the world of writing are a given. I subscribe to several list-servs and writers’ magazines and there are entire sections devoted to writers comparing the rewrite needs of editors. You’ll see postings such as, “Good pay, but asked for 3 rewrites, the last one rather extensive,” or “Editor completely changed direction on me after I’d turned the article in.”
I’ve been lucky in that I really haven’t dealt with this. One or two of my articles have had changes made to the opening paragraphs but for the most part, I’ve been left alone.
Until now. I turned an article in last week and the editor called me Monday afternoon to let me know she…let’s see, how to phrase this? Oh, yes. She HATED the article. I don’t believe she actually used the word “hate” but she did tell me it was “unusable” the way it was. She wanted a feature article and felt I gave her more of a technical piece with “No heart. Nothing for readers to grab onto to.”
It’s difficult to hold a conversation where your work is being lambasted. What do you say? “Uh huh. Yes, I totally agree.” I mumbled my way through it and said I'd have the rewrite ready on Wednesday.
You’ve heard of Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief from her book “On Death & Dying?” I’ve run the gamut in the last 48 hours. A summary:
1. Denial. I have less than 48 hours to pull off the rewrite of an article that took me over a week to write. I’d better get started. Except I can’t seem to stop shoving chocolate-chip ice cream down my throat as I watch “4 Weddings & A Funeral” – one of my many “comfort movies.”
2. Anger. Stupid woman. MY work unusable? Total bitch. Maybe I’ll call her back and tell her to shove her rewrite where the sun doesn’t shine.
3. Bargaining. Okay, I’ll do the rewrite. And it will be so good that this editor will call to apologize for ever momentarily doubting my obvious almost God-like talent. And please God, if you help me with this rewrite I promise I will never, ever procrastinate on an assignment ever again and will ONLY put forth my best effort on every project that comes my way, now and forever. Amen.
4. Depression. I consider running out to buy a paper to peruse the want ads as I’m clearly unfit for a writing career. I knew it was only a matter of time until I was discovered as a fraud. The problem isn’t that the editor is a bitch. It’s that I’m a total loser. I’m just upset with her because she was the one to see through to the truth…
5. Acceptance. After reviewing my original article, I have to admit, she’s right. It’s not a good piece. For reasons too long to go into here, I see now that I panicked myself into thinking I had to deliver this high-tech, quote filled, research filled piece. And it’s boring. She’s right to ask for a rewrite and when I think about it, she was pretty kind in how she went about it. Said she thought I was capable of better. The editor is my new best friend.
The stages didn’t just come, 1-2-3. I hopped around like a frog on drugs. I was angry, depressed, in denial, accepting, bargaining, angry again, a long stretch of depression…
But the work is done. I worked on the piece most of yesterday and was up at 4:30 am today, putting the final touches on it. It’s close to a total rewrite but I’m much happier with this piece and I hope the editor will be to. I’m kind of waiting with held breath to see if I get an e-mail saying, “Nice rewrite, thanks,” or “At least this one is almost useable.” (I'll take it.)
Until I hear, I’m going to take a nap.