Thursday, July 25, 2002

You know how little things can just sort of stick there in the back of your mind, surfacing now and then until you find an answer? I have been spending months... really, seriously months... trying to figure out why one person was mad at me. Now and then it would come to me, and I'd wonder about it for a moment or two. Today, while doing dishes, the answer finally surfaced. It was because, as editor of Vision, I finally had to call her on something unprofessional she had been doing since the first issue.

This woman is an excellent writer. She did some incredibly good articles for Vision. But she inevitably turned them in late... not just past the deadline, but with (if I was lucky) 48 hours until the material went up on line. Once it was within the last 24 hours. That meant the stuff not only had to be edited (because, though she was good, everything goes past our copyeditor), but also get it into the issue, make sure it was formatted correctly, get the links right... and this was in the days when we were doing the pdf and the pdb files on the same days. So not only was she holding me up, but also Beth (copyeditor) and Holly (who did those other versions).

I finally called her on it. I finally told her that a piece she was working on (already one issue behind when she said she'd have it) would have to wait until the next issue because I had already told someone else (who had already gotten me the material) that they would have that spot.

It was an important piece -- an interview I would have loved for the ezine. And if she had said that she'd told that person the interview would be in the upcoming issue, I would have switched things around again. What she did say was that she'd already told her friends it would be in that issue. I wasn't going to bump the other person's material for her friends.

If she had said she would get the the material to me the next day, rather than that she wasn't done yet, then I would have held the spot one more time. As it was, I was hoping that giving her yet another issue to get the material done would help get it to me on time. She never got it done. And she left Forward Motion not long afterwards over other things... but I had heard she was miffed with me, and wondered what the problem was.

Oh, and there was another problem that just occured to me. When Vision first went up, she and her then boyfriend made a list of things that they thought should be changed. I told her why some of them were the way they were, and that I'd look at the others for the next issue. I outright fixed some real problems, and was glad they'd pointed them out.

When the next issue went up, I incorporated nearly all the changes they'd suggested, and emailed asking for comments. As I recall, I never heard back -- but considering how hectic things were right then, I might just have missed it. I have come to suspect, however, that she really wanted to be the one in charge of putting the ezine together. Given tha she couldn't even get a single article in on time, this probably wouldn't have been a good idea.

I realize that I learned something very important from her during all of this. It issomething I suspect that all editors, even ones of little ezines, figure out pretty early on. It doesn't matter if you have the best writer in the world working on material for you... if they don't take it seriously -- if they don't treat it professionally -- it's going to be a hassle, and at some point you'll have to make a decision on it. How to deal with it is never easy.

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