Taking an edit test is probably one of the most exciting/stressful times in a wannabe magazine editor’s career. On one hand, you can show the pros your writing/editing chops, but on the other, you’re going crazy trying to figure out what exactly they’re looking for.
It’s an art, but luckily with practice comes perfection. (Or maybe you learned insider tips and tricks by taking Ed’s How to Ace Your Next Edit Test class!) But no matter how prepared (or not) you might feel, most editors agree, there’s an anxiety-ridden thought process that occurs each time an edit test opportunity is on the horizon.
Here’s how it goes for Ed:
The editor who interviewed you said she’d be “sending over an edit test shortly,” so now you’re glued to your email anxiously waiting for the message to come through.
Still high on the adrenaline from the good vibes you got during your interview, you’re ready to conquer this edit test with confidence. After you review the directions, you think: This is a piece of cake. Come up with five pitches and write an article? No problem!
But, then you actually get started and are completely clueless on which section to begin with. Do you pitch ideas first? Edit the sample story? Critique the mag? HELP!!! This is all so overwhelming.
After carefully crafting an awesome pitch, you realize that even though you’ve just started, you’re totally owning this edit test!
Until you realize that someone already covered your amazing idea that you thought was totally unique two years ago on their site.
Hours into the edit test, you get overwhelmed about the amount of work left to be done.
You contemplate throwing in the towel and rethinking you entire career. *Cries hysterically because magazine career is over and the three semester’s worth of free internships you suffered through are now useless.*
But then you realize that, besides needing to pay your rent, you want this more than anything so giving up is clearly not an option.
After pulling yourself together and getting back into the groove, you realize you’ve forgotten all the basic rules of AP style. In fact, everything you learned from school and the above referenced internships is suddenly gone. Come on, think!! You know this!
Not to mention, you over-analyze everything. For example, when the instructions read, “Edit this story,” does she want me to actually make the changes or merely suggest what changes should be made? Ugh, the agony!
And then, you finish writing up your last pitch idea and think: I did it. I DID IT! This editor just got served.
But of course, the work isn’t done yet. You quadruple check EVERYTHING. The stakes are high: One typo could cost you your entire future.
After obsessively rewriting the email that accompanies your completed edit test (it’s shocking how many versions of the same two sentences you can come up with!), you attach your labor of love and press send.
But you still panic. Did I follow the instructions correctly? It couldn’t be that easy, could it? Should I have gone with that other pitch?
Finally, you decide you’ve got to stop obsessing over this — after all, it’s all you’ve been thinking about for two days, 23 hours and 17 minutes — and go out for a beer!