Monday, July 19, 2010

Writing for a Living

I love copyediting. It gives me the opportunity to learn new subjects and words and meet new people, though not in person. You see, I’ve always had a face for radio, so it’s wonderful that my work arrives via the Net. It’s sort of like cyberdating, except I don’t have to endure the interrogation, the “you’re a lot homelier in person” comments, and I get paid for my input. In the emotional world when you offer ideas for another’s improvement, they tell you to go “edit” yourself.

Authors and editors respect my work. My Random House editor said I see things other don’t, like a rule one point thicker than another, or a gray hair on my blond head, or an impure thought. Except for those who desire a polished, fact-verified, credible work, I’m a pain, and I don’t think my being single is an accident.

Note: my editing means that someone has written. That makes me feel a little bit envious. I am awed that a person took the time to write more than a blog post. I wonder how long it took the author to write and rewrite a manuscript and how many people contributed to his or her effort by giving suggestions and allowing quiet, contemplative time.

I wonder if writers squirreled away money where they would receive the highest interest rate, say, in their mattresses, so they wouldn’t stress about paying insurance invoices. Food expenses no longer count, according to one “professional” Dumpster digger my neighbor told me about. The guy finds four-course meals and beer just under the lid. Hmm, maybe I’ll keep food as an expense.

So today I am a writer, not just a writer wannabe. My words might be fun, insightful, or inspirational. Contrarily, they might be unintriguing. But writers write, right? If I’m tapping on my iBook keyboard, I am like them. Plus when I’m done, I’ll have something to show for it, unlike sending a zillion applications and résumés to purported employers who really don’t exist.

Does anyone ever hear back from “employers” after sending letters of application? I’ve played the game for 12 years, have gotten two interviews, one temporary position, and lots of technical-job nudges from San Jose (though I’d written “not willing to relocate”).

I could be hurt by all the rejection if I had feelings, but everyone else in the U.S. tells me the same story, so I’m not special and you knew that. My dad thinks I don’t try, but he never grasped reality or empathy. “See if you feel this!” Bam! He always had a way with whirls.

So between editing jobs, I’m submitting my work to magazines again. As instructed in the Writer’s Market, I am reading and learning about each applicable magazine to hear its voice and ascertain if a publication blends with my style. If it blends, I need to suggest to them where in the magazine my work would best fit.

To the editor: “My work is best displayed on the front cover of your magazine…as a model of an old gal needing to share her message with the world. It would have a talk bubble nibbling at her mouth: ‘Buy me! Experienced. Vivacious. Willing to learn and earn. Oooo, baby, I can write a story.’”

Pretty erotic, isn’t it? Whaddaya say? Can I write about you?

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