Never Write Alone— and other lessons from a Rejected Cover Letter (LitMag Edition)

Read ‘Why Your Rejected Cover Letters Matter’ an intro into why I’m posting this. Or just dive right in and learn how to be a writer in a collaborative team.

You and the blank page

Dear LitMag*,

As LitMag’s newest copy editor, I offer 3 successful years of professional editing experience, along with a high 2:1 English Literature degree from (Prestigious UK) University. I’m 26 years old, from London, and I know a thing or two about writing well.

The first, and therefore the most important, thing I know about writing well, is that no-one writes alone.

While writing may be a solitary occupation, its whole premise is social. It’s kind of a paradox like that. You need managers, editors, proofreaders and you need that one guy from Marketing to say, “hey, I like your stuff, but this part about the badgers and the Clorox isn’t working so well for me.” And that’s all before the work reaches your intended audience — your dear readers — who ideally you want to entice into an open dialogue.

You don’t always need to take Mark from Marketing’s constructive criticisms on board, as a writer also needs strength in her convictions, but you do need to be able to hear his words without pride making you deaf and blind to the flaws on the page. When aspiring to create something within a team, ego needs to step aside, so the larger vision can be actualised.

That being said… one must not be immune to one’s achievements, especially when one is attempting to write a convincing a letter of application.

Since leaving University, I have been promoted from Junior Copywriter to Quality Assurance Editor to Digital Content Manager. My keen eye as a copywriter and reputation as a perfectionist earned me the promotion to QA Editor. My ability to be rigorous without being unkind is how I then progressed to become Content Manager. Harmonious collaboration within a team is essential for producing consistent, sustainable work.

I still create a significant amount of original content, but mostly for projects that will help boost my portfolio, like this opportunity with LitMag. I’ve worked within the corporate and digital world of writing for 3 years now, and while this has upgraded my writer’s toolbox significantly, I long for more experience within the creative world.

As a copy editor and writer, I’m a little like a gardner. I do what’s best for the garden at the expense of the weeds; rooting out bad grammar, coaxing sentences into compelling form, and snipping off loose ends. I excel at creating flowing, error free text.

I have oodles of experience writing in various styles for different publications and markets. With access to a good reference guide like The Chicago Manual of Style, I will ensure stylistic consistency throughout LitMag. I am able to juggle many different projects at once, and indeed, that is how I thrive as a writer.

As a copy editor, you need to listen. That’s your job, really: professional listener. You listen to the brief, to your team members, to the readers, to everyone who is invested in making the vision a reality. Then, when it’s just you and the blank page, you forget the words and who-said-what and you write what you know to be true — you write for the greater vision. It would be an honour to be accepted as a part of LitMag team and to work towards creating a beautiful publication.

Yours faithfully,

Callie Anne

*Oh, any LitMag.

On reflection I can see that I wrote this application as a writer and not a copy editor and perhaps that says a little about why I didn’t get this position.

They liked me though and I was interviewed for and offered a different role within said LitMag.

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