Monday, November 1, 2010

The Editor Letter

The hardest thing I have to write every month is my Editor Letter. To give myself some credit, I have gotten much better, but when I started with my publication earlier this year, I was at a loss.
I write for a running publication and at the time of starting the position, had yet to even run a race (if you don't count my single year doing Track and Field in high school). Therefore, my first letter said I was a spectator of running. Seriously.
The amount of pressure I put on myself every month was ridiculous. I would save the letter for last, hoping the need to write it would disappear or that some idea would magically appear out of thin air and I would write the most prolific 400+ words I have ever written.
It took awhile for me to realize that it didn't matter that I didn't have years of experience under my belt or had yet to run a 5K. What mattered is that I was trying and planning. It was in my Editor Letter that I declared I was going to run a 5K and a half-marathon, and here I am today getting ready to run my second 5K this upcoming weekend and have my half-marathon training program starting December 1.
The Editor Letter isn't where I am supposed to spout off all of my knowledge about the sport - it is where I get to share my stories and set goals myself in a space readers can see I am just like them. It is where I can relate to the rest of the Texas running crowd and hope they'll look for me if they attend the same races.
I never used to pay attention to Letters from the Editor much. Now I try to pour through all different magazines reading them at the store or Barnes & Noble when I get the chance. I have become fascinated with all of the different personalities that shine through and all of the different writing styles and layouts. The Editor Letter is really the place to be you.
Do you read the Editor Letter in magazines? Do you have to write one? What is your favorite - and least favorite - part about them?


Amy said...

I used to have to write an Editor's Letter when I worked for a magazine about storm water management... I was clueless as to what to write about and procrastinated every month. Yet I always managed to come up with something at the last minute... the topic you write about sounds a tad more interesting =)

Amrita said...

i read those.. i think it has the highlights of all the posts published for that month.. the letter has a tone that connects all the different topics/posts.. in a way that i can pick up from and start reading.

Andrea W. said...

In college I was Editor in Chief of our school's newspaper, and yes I agree, the editor's letter was an intimidating thing to sit down and do. I always thought I had to set the tone for the issue (it was a weekly paper) and bring up important topics. In the end, I thought it was best to use it as a mini op/ed section to share my thoughts about what was going on around campus. Good luck with the running! I just started in February, ran my first 5K in May and in two weeks I am doing a 10K.

JulieM said...

I always read the Editor's Letter in my magazines. I think it helps remind the reader that the people behind the magazine are just that -- people. I think it's great that you admit you're trying out running; it will probably encourage your more beginner runners to set a similar goal for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Never ever...and if you write for a very niche magazine, I can't imagine how hard it must be!

nic said...

Yes, I tend to read the editor letter. I'm interested to know a bit about the person who helms the publication and read heavily into how it's written. I am interested more in the person who has written it than the content itself, I guess. Assuming, of course, that the editor is in fact the writer!