It’s hard out there for freelance writer. Lately, I’ve been blasting out my resume and samples to every job post I can find on the off chance I’ll get marginally paid for my work. For the most part, I don’t hear back, and that’s fine. That might have something to do with me hardly researching the person I’m emailing, or the fact that I apply to these job postings when ridden with panic in the wee hours of the morning. Whatever the case, I got a response this week with some interesting feedback from Chadwick Wentworth III* about how I should approach my writing:
Dear Ms. Ryan,
This email is in reply to your email responding to our advertisement for an assistant editor. I was very impressed with your academic credentials. We have a high regard for USF and any Jesuit education. We know the curriculum and intellectual tutelage are excellent. Then, I looked at your samples. Normally, any candidate whose work included the materials you provided would not get a response from us. Given your academic background you may find our reaction instructive for the future.
No self-respecting journalist or publication would ever hire someone who employs the word "sh--" as a title for anything. That is gutter talk found on any 4th grade playground. It does not impress nor does it shock. It only smacks of lack of professionalism and an utter disrepect for the wrtten word, the publication in which it appears (assuming the publication has integrity) and the readers.
Based on your academic credentials and collegiate experience, you would have been offered an interview promptly. However, given your apparent predisposition to vulgarity and profanity, and the fact that your works would be readily traceable to our readers and/or competitors—revealing an obvious lack of professionalism and disrespect for readers and the publication—we cannot offer you that interview.
Chadwick Wentworth III*
To which I replied:
Thank you for acknowledging my academic achievements. It is true that the Jesuits are known for their excellent tutelage, as you say.
I’d also like to thank you for your thoughtful advice. Though I have to disagree with you about me having an “utter disrepect for the wrtten word.” I actually really like the written word!
I’ll admit that I should have done my research. Had I, I would have found that you have a reputation for threatening your former employees with lawsuits, accusing them of slander and pilfering “trade secrets.” In one case, you denied a writer the agreed-upon payment for his work and then filed a lawsuit against him when he complained about it. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like something any publication with integrity would do.
I would never have known who you were before, so thank you for helping me dodge a bullet there.
While my intention has never been to shock anyone with my writing, I am surprised by the reaction it stirred in you, and I have to say, it’s validating. Before you wrote to me, I wasn’t sure my writing moved anyone at all.
But since you’ve confirmed that it does, I’m more determined than ever to pursue my passion and cultivate my style.
*Name has been changed for obvious reasons