Writer Wednesday: What to do when editors cross the line?

Ok, I'm starting something new on my blog. Over the last few years, I spent a great deal of time focusing on SEO and marketing, which has left me forgetting about my writing buddies. It's time for me to get back to my roots and not only help businesses succeed, but my writing friends. This is why I've decided to start Writer Wednesday, where I will offer tips and advice to writers to help them grow their career. So get ready, here's the first installment in the new weekly addition:

What to Do When Editors Cross the Line

When you choose to be a freelance writer, you also have to take on the task of dealing with editors. Although most editors you work with are a delight and helpful by offering great advice and information. However, some editors can be very rude and difficult. There are simple tips you can use to evaluate the situation about how to properly handle a rude editor.

Although editors are there to assist writers, sometimes an editor will feel superior to a writer and try to use that power to their advantage and against the writer. This can lead to deconstructive criticism, rude comments, and offensive behavior. This type of behavior from an editor can cause your first instinct to fire back at them, but this will make the situation worse. It is important to remain professional, no matter what the circumstance.

Remain Professional Although editors may cross the line with rude and offensive behavior, it's vital for your career and self image to remain professional. It can be very tempting to fire back rude comments, but you must practice self restraint when dealing with rude editors. If you fire back at the editor with rude comments, it can damage your career. Rude behavior can give a company cause to terminate a writer, no matter how great their skills.

Evaluate the Situation Before reacting to an offensive editor, you must evaluate the situation. Look back at your work and the editor's comments. Was it your best work? Did you follow the assignment guidelines? Did you meet the deadline?

If you answer "no" to any of these question, it may be the reason behind your editor's comments. Editors rely on writers to take care of their responsibilities. If a writer does not do this, it can be very aggravating to an editor. Although offensive behavior is not appropriate, it may help explain why the behavior occurred.

Make a Decision Once you have evaluated the situation, you may be forced to make a decision. If the behavior continues, you may need to sit back and think whether or not the job is worth keeping. Is it worth dealing with a rude editor or is it time to move on? If the job is worth keeping, all you can do is take care of your responsibilities as a writer and remain professional. If you choose that it's time to leave the company, politely and respectively give your resignation notice.

Dealing with rude and offensive editors that cross the line is difficult enough. Remaining professional about the situation and carefully evaluating the experience is vital when dealing with an editor who has crossed the line. Also, try to take it as a learning experience as to what you can do next time to do better.


ShawnTe Pierce said…
I remember when I first began writing articles. I had an editor comment on an article that I "should not be a writer". The comment was written in the third person. Even today, I am not sure if I was meant to see that or if the editor was trying to leave that comment for his or her boss. That comment did three things: (1) Made me cry. (2) Made me angry. (3) Made me look through my article and the editing notes with a magnifying glass.

When I resubmitted the article, I was praised for tightening things up. Not sure if the same editor received my submission. Whether the editor intended for me to see that remark, I do not know. I do know I was meant to see that remark. Sometimes an editor's rudeness can be a great asset to your writing.