Editors at Work: Why It’s Good to Write Those Little Notes

A weekend email:

Dear Jack,

I don’t know if you remember me, but I was one of your interns in 1998. For the past 15 years I’ve been freelancing abroad, but I was recently at my parents’ house rummaging through some boxes. Inside I found a small treasure: a typewritten note from you saying that I had done a good job on the minor league baseball story.

This was an important find because I remember that when I was starting out and editors would trash my copy, I would tell myself, “Don’t forget that Jack thinks you’re a good writer.” I even had it in writing.

Soon my copy improved and I started trashing editors’ critiques, but that’s another story. I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I still appreciate the note.

Mike Elkin
Mike adds that he has written mostly about Spain but also covered a lot of Western Europe and the Arab Spring. He’s soon to have a new audience: “I recently joined the foreign service and ship out to China next month. So now I’m learning cable writing. At long last I can use the serial comma…”

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