As a freelance writer, you get to meet all sorts of people and often you make some unlikely friends. I’ve been lucky to cultivate friendships among many of my interview subjects and some of my editors, however, friendships with editors can be a dicey subject.
Editors often feel besieged by writers who want to be “friends,” but that friendship often entails the writer really only being friendly enough to get a writing job. Writers are also weary of friendships with editors because they fear being taken advantage of. So can writers and editors be friends?
Well, there’s friendly and then there’s friendship and then there is freaky/fake.
Friendly is a writer who follows an editor on Twitter, Facebook or at their blog and comments when they have something to contribute to the conversation.
Friendly is shooting an editor a quick email just to see how they’re doing – not what they’re working on or if they have anything for you.
Friendship is when you all hang out on the weekends discussing non-work related issues. Friendship is when you know their birth date and kids’ names.
Freaky is a writer telling an editor about their colon issues in their first email exchange. Freaky/Fake is a writer telling an editor everything they say or blog, is the smartest, funniest, most wonderful thing they’ve ever heard. Editors love flattery, but sheesh.
For editors, friendly is shooting a quick congrats email to a writer who has written something great for someone else.
Friendship is inviting a writer to dinner the next time they are in town. Friendship is checking on a writer who lives in Galveston to see if they are okay – not if they’ll make their deadline.
Freaky is trying to get a writer to take a pay cut because you’re “friends.” Freaky/Fake is keeping great opportunities for a writer to yourself because you don’t want to share.
The thing to remember folks, is that not everyone will be or should be your friend, but there is nothing wrong with being friendly. And when a writer has a friendship with an editor, both parties need to make an effort to keep business and friendship separate.
Writers – don’t flake out on a deadline because Bob’s your buddy and editors, don’t mail a check late because Cindy knows you’re good for it.
Anyone have any friends on the other side of the masthead? Got a freaky/faker stalking you on Twitter?