Hmmm. This sounds a little bit like a job interview question and, to be honest, avoiding job interviews is one of the main reasons I enjoy the freelancer lifestyle. The long hours, relatively low pay, and nonexistent health insurance certainly can’t be considered perks. But I’m game; I’ll play ball: I guess I have a few proud moments, like the time I wrote some no-charge copy for a pet rescue website. That gave me the unusual sensation of being a good person. Or–and this just happened yesterday–when I actually won $500 playing online poker.
That has nothing to do with writing, you say? Wrong. That poker win put my head back in the writing game. I came back to my Word document after winning that money and I knocked back some of the blandest prose I’ve ever churned out. Stuff so boring that I actually, no joke, fell asleep that morning while I was trying to write it. But once I won that poker money and promised myself I’d spend it on a special treat at trashylingerie.com after I filed the piece, I was able to whip that article out in less than an hour. You might think that psyching yourself up to write boring prose is nothing to be proud of, but I’m always proud to meet client needs and, more important, send in an invoice on a completed project.
It seems like you hate writers and love editors. Why do you like editors so much?
I don’t really like editors all that much; I just like them compared to writers. I guess I have sort of overplayed the “I love editors card” around these parts. And I appreciate all their hard work. They can turn a steaming pile of shitty writing that doesn’t even make sense into something that is really almost-not-embarrassing.
As a professional, no-nonsense hack-writer type, I am able to see the facts of what editors do more clearly than some of my more temperamental contemporaries. I know full well that my prose is not something crafted by the hands of angels. But there can be no doubt that editors are demanding, unrealistic pricks. I’m pretty sure they think writing is something that takes no effort, planning, thought, or time. “Can you get this back to me in three hours?” they ask breezily, sending a heavily marked-up draft filled with thought-provoking, work-creating queries and comments. “Sure I can, if I drop all the other projects I’m working on in order to build a time machine.” Editors! Only marginally better than writers when it comes right down to it.
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