MIDWAY: A thankless job

The editors are the men, American politician Adlai E. Stevenson observed, “who separates wheat from the chaff and see to it that the chaff is printed.” Many cynical writers of recent times, irrespective of their writing abilities, are prone to believe this adage after being routinely rejected by the editors; if nothing else, only to comfort their disconsolate selves.

When I started to contribute to various newspapers, I was no exception. I penned my essays with great expectation, polished them up to the best of my ability and sent them to the editors with an earnest hope of being exposed. But the editors, to my great dismay, often discarded my “masterpieces”. Every rejection hurt me deeply and, in turn, I used to curse them bitterly. In those days, I thought editors were people who hindered my way to success. But not now. I write for my own sake — to explore my emotions on a piece of paper.

Every rejected article instead encourages me to write better. I belong to that ilk of writers for whom the thrill of creativity itself — with the words coming to my mind as if from a mystical source — is a great thrill in itself.

Nowadays, in place of curses for them, I have an understanding of their problems. The work of an editor, like that of wicket-keepers in cricket, is a thankless job.

A writer’s work is published, read, applauded and criticised by the readers. In the process, the editors are all but forgotten. Instead, they are often criticised for their poor selection of articles and editing skills. The work of a newspaper editor, in addition, calls for extra vigilance as he’s got to maintain a semblance of journalistic nuances as well.

And the deluge of submissions for the limited space only makes the job harder. Oh, and the phone calls they must get, demanding that the self-acclaimed writers be published.

I believe an editor’s selection depends as much upon mood and mindset. Still, I see no reason to concur with British critic and novelist T S Eliot, who said that all the editors are “frustrated writers, seeking revenge for the lack of their own success”. Editors, renowned for their fastidious temperament (lest we forget), are humans too.