I enjoy snappy little quotes, so I’m glad you all indulge me in sharing them. If you’ve not visited my blog on Thursdays, it’s a day set aside to encourage writers.
So if you’re new, welcome to Writers’ Corner!
Do numbers matter? I suppose to a statistician they matter a great deal. To an artist or creative person? Not so much. The exception to this is when writers’ guidelines state a specific word count to adhere to or an editor gives a deadline for an assignment.
If writers’ guidelines state 1,000 words, this is what they mean, not 1,100. Exceeding word count is a good way to get your manuscript tossed before it’s even read. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the editor, you might be able to ask for leniency in future articles.
Case in point, six years ago I wrote a serial for my local newspaper. When I wrote the final installment, I asked for an extra 300-400 words to finish the story. The editor agreed. However, I never submit an article to a magazine over the limit.
Even when you stay within the word count limit, you might be asked to cut words depending on the editorial needs of a specific magazine issue.
My first published magazine article started as a 500-word Bible study on Proverbs 2:1-5. The editor returned my submission with suggestions and said if I could cut it to 350 words, she’d take another look. Apparently, that was the available space in the particular issue she wanted to run the article. Cutting 150 words was difficult, but I did it, and she published the article.
Not meeting a deadline is worse than exceeding word count. The editor/publisher has spent valuable time reading your submission and accepted it. Now they’re invested in you. They’ve given you a deadline because they have a deadline.
Sometimes you hit a snag. Life happens. I spent this morning in the ophthalmologist’s office because my son got a metal speck lodged in his eye. He’s fine now. Fortunately, I had no deadlines looming today.
In all relationships, communication is key. As soon as you become aware of a problem, contact the editor to see if there’s any flexibility. If not, then find a way to finish the assignment by the deadline.
Do you have an anecdote about getting published you’d like to share? Please leave it in the comments below so everyone can enjoy reading it.
I want to take a moment to give a shout out to Wisdom of a Fool blogger who interviewed me for her inaugural newsletter. Click here to read it. It’s chock-full of interesting information and insight.
Meanwhile, if you have writing questions or a suggestion for a future blog you’d like me to consider, please let me know.