Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Writing for publications

When you write for publications, like magazines and newsletters, you really need to remember that the writing is not about you (unless it's an op ed piece). The publication doesn't want to know about you or have your comments and opinions throughout, and they don't much care about your precious author 'voice.' The first voice that matters is the tone of the publication -- then you worry about the tone of you, the author. But if you are going to write for say BUST you need to write according to that voice, which is worlds away from THIS Magazine or an association's newsletter to members.

Keep your ego out of it and write the story/article that you were assigned to write or feel compelled to write. This is where the amateurs and professionals part ways.

The amateurs lament at the passing of their 'voice' crying out to all those who will listen that the nasty editor changed their voice (when in fact what happened was editing, a much-needed task to ensure consistency of the publication's overall voice).

A professional will recognize that they are writing for something that others will read, a something that said readers will expect to follow a certain voice (think of the Economist) and style (think Time Magazine). An editor has to respect your work and voice, yes, but if it fails to keep the tone of the publication you are seeking to be published in, then some heavy-handed editing may be required and performed. You can take it like a pro and learn from the experience, or be petty and stomp and storm and refuse to learn from the process, which will get you nowhere in this industry.