If you’re a writer, always be sure to stick to your guns and be persistent! Here are a few pitfalls I’ve had to reflect upon in my own experience:
1. Yes You Already DO Know How to Write
Editors who tell you ‘they cannot tell you how to write’ are often addicted to overly short and unsophisticated writing. There was one particular editor who once told me this, but his site was one of those ones which was viral, and had genuinely funny content, and yet had stories that are VERY short.
Remember that there is more than one way to write satire (or anything else), and people who are used to providing one form of content may mistake their own subjective preferences as an objectively correct aesthetic judgment.
Please note I am not advocating relativism here; of course some styles of writing, and some specimens of writing, are objectively better than others. However, there are different criteria out there: so you can be pluralistic without being nihilistic. Nihilism and dogmatism are both to be avoided.
Of course, if you ever get an editor, try to keep an open mind, instead of always sticking with tried and tested pathways; provided, as they say, you are open minded – but not so far that your brains fall out!
2. Philistines Beware!
Some people are suspicious of refined, articulate and eloquent prose. It may be other writers on a site, or it may be trolls. Remember that those of an inferior mindset and an inferior taste cannot be expected to appreciate the aesthetically accomplished: you might as well expect an acid house fan to enjoy the operas of Bellinin or Donizetti. If you’ve lived on turkey twizzlers and chicken nuggets all your life, why would you ever go near a Peking roast duck?
3. Know When to Quit
Be persistent, but don’t keep flogging a dead horse. If a website has rejected your work several times, or if you suspect the editor may be ill disposed to you (do I know you from Tinder?! Er… TWITTER!), then you might want to chill yer beans for a few months. Or years. Or maybe just move on elsewhere.
4. We Want Patience, and We Want it Now!
Editors don’t always respond promptly; perhaps, like me, they have had health problems. Perhaps they are very busy with their editing job, or they have other responsibilities; professional or otherwise. It’s OK to chase up occasionally, as long as you’re respectful. Sometimes, you might even politely suggest a deadline for a decision, or at least for any further communication (not sure which is better myself, personally).
As with 3, don’t be too persistent. Give editors a fair chance, but try not to let things go too far, where both of you end up wasting time. There comes a point where it’s OK to politely withdraw, although that should be a last resort, and you should always keep them informed. Obviously, you should check your inbox, spam folder, alternative email addresses or anywhere else, before doing so!
5. Opinions Mean Jack!
The internet is full of people with opinions, but people who speak the truth are just that little bit rarer! Remember that when trolls come spouting their opinions about your perfectly rational and reasonable piece of commentary, they are not the person who is making the case for their views and perspectives. They are just spouting opinions. If you’ve gone beyond merely asserting an ‘opinion,’ and you’ve actually argued in a well reason manner, then there’s no reason to roll around in the muck with these idiots, is there?
6. Haters Gonna Hate!
Don’t assume all critics are good faith critics. If someone says your story is racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, ableist or anything else, and you know it’s not, then don’t take the bait. Ignore them, or laugh them out of town, or simply make a brief and civil refutation, and leave it at that. Remember that on the left and right alike, point-scoring and virtue signalling is more important than truth. If someone falsely accuses you of advocating ‘white genocide’ or ‘fatphobia,’ you don’t need to give these people any more credit that they actually deserve.
7. We Had Enough o’ “Experts”
Don’t be cowed by people with letters after their name, or some form of high status. There are plenty of intellectual idiots in this world, as well as moronic ‘wealth creators,’ spiritually clueless ‘faith leaders,’ tone-deaf ‘artists’ and cognitively idle ‘activists.’ The fact that someone’s name is known over the world, or they have graduated from Harvard or Oxford, doesn’t automatically mean they are right and you are wrong. You should not allow people who flaunt their wealth, status, skills, experience or academic credentials to intimidate you and make you feel inferior. Sometimes, a degree really IS just a piece of paper!
8. Pick Yer battles!
See 6. People who consistently weaponise logical fallacies, derailment and intimidation tactics such as trolling, flaming, report-mobbing or dog-piling already have their reward. You can choose a better one.
9. Silicon Mofos
Don’t expect social media moderators to always do the right thing. The ‘open forums’ of the Silicon Mafia are intrinsically centrist mechanisms for the manufacturing of consent.
10. Kick ‘Em to the Kerb!
Don’t worry if you can’t make it at the top outlets. Remember that the mainstream media are always, always, always there to play it safe. If they reject your piece, it may be that these devious little paper sharks can smell blood. You can let ’em bleed elsewhere…. ON ANOTHER FORUM.