Being the Editor of three magazines does not come without its challenges. Being thrown into this position – eagerly of course – felt eerily similar to diving into the cold pool at 5 a.m. every morning for 13 years of my life. It was a shock of cold water, but after a couple of strokes you know its something your body innately knows.
Luckily, I had some time to prepare for the position. Knowing that my previous Editor Jack (who had been tasked Editor for a mere two months) was unhappy and on his way out, I began performing the Editor duties while he was still in the Editor position. This gave me a chance to practice my performance in a way, covertly get the hang of things without being in the limelight before the inevitable torch was passed.
Being the Editor at any magazine is hard. Being an Editor under a crazy publisher is almost a cliché – and yet that is where I found myself. My day-to-day varies, since we are cyclical in producing magazines, I have days where I step into the office and all of a sudden its five o’clock and the day has literally flown by in a series of emails, binder meetings, and of course constant crisis aversion. Then there are days where all of the content has come in, and all that is left is for Art to make our copy edits and we can all breathe again.
This work is dynamic, and I am fortunate enough to be involved in almost every aspect of publishing. I work with sales to make sure our content and budget align, I work with art on laying out features and designing pages and promos and such, I work with the Publisher on a multitude of ideas and initiatives. And it is so hard. This work is crazy, maddening, and satisfying work and what is great is that at the end of the
day month, I can flip through all of the work that I and the rest of my staff did, and see the physical finished product of our blood, sweat, and tears.
The road is tough getting there – my day-to-day can be incredibly hectic, and full of pressure, since at the end of the month, if there is no content,the blame falls solely on me. Blank pages are, illogically, my worst nightmare. We all know that of course the magazine won’t go to print with blank pages, yet that does not stop the tightening in my chest when it is week three in the cycle, and two features have pulled out, a columnist has submitted a totally off brand / unusable column, and my publisher has decided to change the theme completely making all of the material that I had so carefully curated under duress that of course you will be published in the upcoming issue, completely useless and moot. As they say,
ShIt Happens. Sometimes it feels like ShIt Happens only to me, but I’m sure thats not true. Mostly.
Though somehow, it all comes together, the pages are filled, and the book ends up looking better than it would have before the crisis. And when that does inevitably happen, my assistant will look at me in shocked relief, and wonder out loud how I manage to pull it off. Magic, I tell her. Pure magic.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – it’s not magic. Essentially, what I do is go into overdrive. I email all of the contacts I have in my backlog, fan favorites that came through this month when my publisher had a change of heart, being The New Home Company and Taylor Morrison, and beg their PR people to please, please let me publish something on your company. The key is to develop good relationships with your contacts, so that way you know that your in a pinch, they will come through. And if they don’t someone else from your contact base that you have fostered a good relationship with will. Strategy for these end of month crises’s are key, and being as systematic as possible creates order from chaos that was prepared to let this months issue burn.
The problem with having this ‘magical’ ability to get
ShIt done, is that you become everyones go to person to solve every single minuscule problem and you inevitably end up doing their job for them because when you do it, you’re significantly more efficient at it. Or that could just be the control freak in me writing. For more on this see my post on how to let go as a control freak or alternatively titled – Sharing the Work Load.
My day-to-day can be broken down in a few simple steps: Email, email, email, coordinate, coordinate, coordinate, try not to shoot yourself and instead hit the overdrive button for crisis management mode. I’m sure my day-to-day is the same as any other Editor’s day-to-day… Right??