First there was fear, coupled with a sense of awe. When I stared at the contents page of the magazine, the editor’s name stood out as if in bold red letters, saying “Beware.” There was no way I was going to address an envelope and mail a manuscript to her. Perhaps sending it online would be easier. Perhaps not.
Next, realizing there was no other way to submit an article, I was consumed with dread. It was a feeling not unlike submitting to a doctor’s physical exam. I felt vulnerable, about to be exposed, hoping for a favorable outcome that would justify such humiliation. My writing was, after all, a part of me, coming from within and firmly attached. With hesitation, I finally reached the point of mailing the manuscript or clicking that submit button.
In the weeks following, there arose in me almost unbearable anxiety. During this time, I found myself picturing the editor with a stern countenance and a long prominent nose. What madness was affecting me?
The day came when I actually received it – my first rejection. My response was disappointment, almost devastation, then anger. The editor became to me all I had imagined, although her note was really quite cordial.
“Thank you,” she wrote, “ for your submission. At this time we have no immediate need for such an article, as we recently published one with much the same focus. Also, please study our magazine carefully and seek to write for our target audience, which is Christian women who are balancing careers with homemaking. I look forward to hearing from you again.”
Not on your life. How insulting. I would find someone who appreciated what I wrote.
A few weeks later I bounced back with a new emotion: stubborn determination. I worked diligently, devouring articles in the magazine, and before long, started again the process of submission, only this time with a challenge in my heart, daring Ms. Editor to turn down another entry.
Soon after that, manuscript accepted, purchased, and to be published, I was gloriously elated. Perhaps the woman wasn't an ogre, a monster in a business suit.
Following those events came a surprising revelation. Looking through the next month’s magazine, I found a picture of the one I was blaming for my emotional roller coaster ride. It was a holiday family photo of the editor herself, including three small grandchildren. She was an ordinary-looking, though lovely lady. I suddenly saw her as a wife, mother, and grandmother, who was working to make her publication one that would minister to the most people in effective and positive ways. I had a definite softening of heart toward her, actually feeling compassion.
Our last encounter was not completely satisfactory, and I went through fresh disappointment, becoming a bit disgruntled, until I gave it more thought. I had asked about a subject on which I really desired to write an article, and she didn’t hesitate to answer.
“If this will be simply a complaint or opinion, it will probably be turned down. On the other hand, if you can research it and present both sides in an objective and convincing way, I would certainly consider it. Study the articles that we use, and try it. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. Above all, keep up your writing.”
Rethinking her remarks, I was touched, encouraged, satisfied, and inspired.
Okay, editors are great. Editors are difficult. Editors are people.
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