WSJD (What Should Jeannette Do?)

Okay, sorry about the title…I couldn’t resist. 🙂

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

Think...think...think... (Image via Wikipedia)

So here’s the deal: I came up against a minor dilemma last week. It’s not earth-shattering or anything, but it has me thinking.

I’ve begun working on a nature-oriented children’s article and was checking out some magazines I could pitch it to. I found one that I thought would be a pretty good fit, so I went online to check out their submission guidelines. It was all good until I got to the section delineating what the magazine does NOT want to see and what it DOES want to see. That’s when I realized the magazine’s standpoint is about as far opposite of mine as it can get. (I don’t want to get into what the actual standpoints are, because I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. The situation is the same though, whichever side of it you’re on.)

My first reaction was “Dang! It sounded so good.” Then, I wondered why I was so put off. If I decided to pitch the article, if the magazine purchased it — it would be just a job, wouldn’t it? I write, they pay, no problem. Plus, I’m just getting started again. I need clips. Am I willing to compromise my beliefs to get a clip? Is compromise the right word? Maybe that’s going overboard a little. But, how I would feel seeing my name in a magazine that promotes a viewpoint so completely opposite of mine? It gives me a sick feeling to think of it. But geez…a clip would be nice, and in the quest for clips, can I really afford to be choosy?

It’s not like there is anything immoral or illegal about the magazine’s point of view. After all, it’s only a children’s nature magazine — and a good one, I’m sure. It simply promotes something contrary to what I believe. Does it make me intolerant if I choose not pursue that avenue to clips and dollars? Does it make me a hypocrite if I do?

The other day, I shared my thought process with my mom, who I’m sure was mentally rolling her eyes (I am the outlier in the family, and I get a lot of eye-rolling). She thinks I am over-thinking the whole thing and I should just pitch the article.

In my defense, I’m really not agonizing about this. I’m not to a point in the process where I need to worry about anything — the article is not even written yet. But, the situation struck me, and now I’m curious. I’m curious what I will do when the time comes, and I’m curious how others might handle the same kind of thing. So, what do you all think? WWYD — what would YOU do?

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About Jeannette Monahan

A writer sidetracked by life, with a husband and two boys who shine brighter than Arizona sunshine. Visit me at my blogs: jeannettemonahan.wordpress.com or jmmonahan.wordpress.com. You are always welcome.
This entry was posted in Journal Sorts of Things, Musings, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to WSJD (What Should Jeannette Do?)

  1. Samir says:

    Hey Jeanette,
    I’d write the article I want to write first and get it out of my system.

    Then I’d see how I feel. If it’s the way you do now, it would be better to shop it elsewhere. If, on the other hand, I feel more relaxed about pitching it to the magazine, then that’s clear too.

    Does this make any sense?

    • Thanks, Samir. Yep, you make sense, and it is kind of how I feel at the moment…write first, then think about whether to pitch it to that particular magazine. I still need to send for a sample copy too. Then I will have a better idea of what they are all about.

  2. Drangedinaz says:

    Is the magazine really forceful with their viewpoint? Is is reflected in their articles to the point that they are influencing kids to think the way they do? If yes, then don’t write for them. If no, then, like the previous commenter said, write it and see how you feel then. Do you have a limited window in which to submit it to them? If not, you could shop around for another magazine?

    • Yes, I think when I get the sample copy I will be able to answer those questions better rather than just evaluating from the website. You’re right, though. I will have to consider how the magazine presents its POV. I don’t have a deadline or anything like that, so there is plenty of time to shop around for the truly right fit.

  3. mj monaghan says:

    Both of those comments were excellent. Once written, you could always shop it somewhere else that has a need for a similar article. I’m not sure I would compromise a whole lot, but look at it this way: MSNBC is thought to be slanted left, but may have conservative commentators (who don’t compromise their viewpoint), and Fox News – just the opposite.

    If it’s something like that, maybe you could work around it.

    Not sure if that helps, or not.

  4. I have been paid to write about subjects that were not of particular interest to me, and I did them because they were a pay cheque and became part of a broad body of work. But I’ve never written about anything that I’m opposed to. I might be wary of doing that. In this technological age, everything we put online could pop up on an internet search and become part of our brand. Do you want to be branded that way?

    • Yes, I’ve written things too that I wasn’t excited about but didn’t cause any internal conflict. Hmm. I’m uncomfortable with the whole idea of having a “brand,” but I’m realizing it’s more and more important. It’s not just a decision about how I’d feel seeing my name in the magazine NOW, but what impression it will give others in the future. I think that makes a difference. Thanks, Arlene.

  5. Talk to me...I'm your Mother says:

    Wow, some decision. The key seems to be how you feel to be represented in that mag. It would matter to no one but you…so it seems to me that you must do what is congruent with how you want to feel about yourself. All the rest is just temporary.

    • Yeah, I think about that sometimes — who would really care but me? But, I do care what my kids would think and the other people who know me and who know the way I feel about things. I’m starting to think I might have to stay true to myself, even for one little article, even if it seems like over-reaction to what is not really a big deal in the overall scheme of things. I wonder, if I cross my line once, how easy will it be for me to do it next time, and next time?

  6. Wow, tricky. It depends if you can live with your conscience. And if the glow of achieving the clip will be tarnished by the atmosphere of the magazine. My writing teacher once had a poem published in a witch-craft magazine… she didn’t realise until it was published and was shocked. Personally, I couldn’t, I don’t think…!

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