I have heard the grumbling from writers for years about articles they have written being edited over to the point of non-recognition, but until recently have not had such an experience. Now I understand the dilemma of an article being given to an overly enthusiastic person to clean up. Simply stated, I am at a loss for words!
Over the years I have submitted articles that when approved have been published just as they were submitted. Let’s just say, I have been extremely spoiled and never knew how lucky I really was. Recently I submitted an article to a site that put you on notice that some editing would be done. I figured there might be a change to the title (which I humbly admit I am horrible about coming up with decent titles). Maybe the piece would be shortened to fit in with the other pieces they would be publishing. You know, I figured basic editing. What I ended up with was a title that was so long I was beside myself. I had written a title that was 6 words long and straight to the point. The title that was published was a very awkward and rambling 12 word long title. It was just a mess. Then I read the story and found my voice was lost. The sentences were so uncomfortably written that I sometimes had to reread a sentence to make sure I understood what was being conveyed. This was a major site that got a lot of eyeballs from important people on it. I just couldn’t understand how my article became so completely botched.
I had been so excited to have this article published. There would be no money involved, but an incredible opportunity to have some important people possibly take notice of what I wrote. Yet, it wasn’t my article anymore. My voice was gone, my sentiments no longer made sense and some of the story was no longer accurate. I was too embarrassed to shout out to the world to take a look at what I had written. I was thoroughly crushed.
So, here became my great debate. How much was I willing to give up for the notice of others? Was my ego playing tricks on me or was what I was reading so bad that I refused to have my name associated with it? I know writers can be temperamental about their words. They don’t want their artistic creations touched or the value of their piece to lose its sparkle. But, I was open to change. I was curious to see how someone would polish up my words and really make my article stand out. I was sincerely open to the editing of my work. But this? Was I dealing with an editor who was new and trying to prove they could write a better story? Did they realize that portions of what they wrote weren’t even how things had occurred or how I felt? Whose article was I looking at in the end? It was such a skeletal version of what I had submitted. It read like a poor rough draft.
So after a lot of soul-searching and an understanding that things like this do happen and will guaranteed, happen again, I have made a decision. I will try once more to submit to this site. The opportunity to get noticed for the moment outweigh the horror of a bad edit. The caveat is that if I get a second botched version of my submission, I will cut the cord and move on to a different platform. I am willing to chalk an incident up to poor luck of the draw and an editor who took a little too much free reign, but I don’t want several articles out there with my name on it that I am embarrassed to mention to anyone.
I am curious how many of you have been in this situation. What are your thoughts on how you would handle what I have experienced? What have you done when your article no longer looked like it was something you wrote? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear what the writing community things about this topic.
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