When the Editor Tells You to Change

I have been asked to be a part of the premiere issue of Relevant Network’s first issue of their new resource for leader, Neue.  I’m honored to take part, as I truly believe this is going to be incredible resource for leaders.  However, because this is the first issue for the resource, I’m having a bit of trouble finding the right voice for my article.

My initial take on the topic (new media for ministies) was to approach it from a philosophical point of view.  I blog regularly, I create videos, I’m working on my own personal metanarrative stories, I’m utilizing micromessaging for LIfeWay content… I’m deep in the trenches of utilizing new media on a regular basis.  So, what interested me was something a bit more abstract, talking about some of the history of media and how we got to “new media,” and then connecting the two to see a bit why we do new media the way we do… and, thus, how we should do it.

My editor, the wonderfully patient Corene Isreal at Relevant Networks, wasn’t interested in all that.  😉

The great thing about working with an editor like Corene is that she is able to both uplift me in what I’ve done right but also sternly let me know what she’s looking for.  The fact of the matter is they have a plan and an image for their product; if I’m going to tell my message the two need to match.

I think the key for any freelance writer that’s starting out is a willingness to be teachable and flexible.  I know the messages that are important to my heart and threads of them will naturally come out in anything I write.  Corene, however, knows what she wanted for this article, and waxing philosophically about the history of media and the cultural concepts behind new media was not it.

To quote Corene’s first round of feedback for me:

In general, you should give specific examples of churches, websites, blogs, etc., that are doing cutting-edge things. As someone who knows a lot about new media, you likely come into contact with or know about a lot of innovative things happening. When you talk about blogs, for examples, give examples of some churches/ministries that are doing some creative and cool things and talk about why. Same with the other sections. Be specific and allow people to really hone in on what you’re talking about.

Yeah, that’s totally what I didn’t do.  Oops.

It’s tough for me because of the dreaded “curse of knowledge” – like she said, I come into contact with innovative things that are happening all the time.  But, at my pace of life, what was innovative a three months ago is copied and processed and old hat already.  Writing this article really made me stop and think: if I could only point someone to a few faith-based blogs as prime examples of what TO do, what would I include?

I like that Corene challenged me and knew that I had the answers in me, it just took some massaging to get me to slow down and catch her vision.  I like that my article is going to fit with the flow and tone of the rest of the product.  I like that what I have written is something that may actually help church leaders dip their toes into the blogging world instead of me speaking a language that doesn’t really connect yet.

I like that my editor told me to change.


4 Responses to “When the Editor Tells You to Change”

  1. cedarstreetwriter Says:

    Everyone who wants to write should read this post and all of the advice you give in other postings. Have enjoyed finding your site.

    Annie O.

  2. Tina Bembry Says:

    I hadn’t heard that you were asked to contribute to this new publication. How exciting! I’m thrilled to hear your voice going out in new places and sharing some of your expertise with others who can benefit. Let me see the issue when it comes out!

  3. I’ll be looking forward to receiving the first issue. I was struck though by your perspective on new media being old to you at the ripe age of three months. I understand that perspective, though not on new media specifically. I have a bunch of friends who have started a book club, some members are older and some younger, and those of us who are aware of new ministry trends, methods and movements need to be careful and make the time to inform more traditional church goers of the goings on of the church in America. Introducing them to Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, Mark Driscoll, Scum of the Earth Church, XXXChurch… and not just assume that they know. As a writer, you are also an educator and you seem to have much to teach.

    This post may be more self reflective and less insightful criticism, so feel free to disregard

  4. […] Media Article for Relevant Magazine’s Neue Quarterly A while back I had a post about an article I was writing for Neue Quarterly. Today I’m proud to say that the premiere […]

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