With the sudden demise of Real Women Magazine, I’m left with some unfulfilled promises.
The next issue was supposed to feature my cover story on an already fully researched and written topic. My 2,000 word article required quite a bit of leg work including a couple of face to face meetings, several phone interviews and a lot of hours spent working it into a piece that stands up to anything out there, but on an even more fascinating topic: open marriage. Protocol dictates that I try to resell this article to another publication, which I’m in the process of doing. But it’s time consuming. You can’t use a shotgun, you have to use a rifle and target one editor at a time. It’s just the way it’s done. I had several other assigned articles in various stages of development as well, but they’re just baby projects compared to this mother. It has a piece of my soul and the best of my fingertips in it.
So it got me thinking, I wonder what other projects people are working on that their company thinks is important, that come to a standstill when the company suddenly shuts down or they’re laid off? There must be thousands of stories of hundreds of man and woman-hours poured into research and investigation and reports that, with a scrawl on a pink slip, are immediately halted. It’s not even just a matter of not getting paid for the work, although that’s certainly part of it. Writers get paid upon publication and if a piece is never published, well, you get the idea. No, it’s more than that. It’s working on something you believe in with a goal in mind and having that goal – a presentation, a sales pitch, an issue of a magazine – vanish.
I’d love to hear your stories of what got stopped when your situation changed. In radio it’s sort of similar to a format change. You’ve poured your energy into whatever you were doing with the aim of attracting listeners and growing your audience and then POOF it’s decided that you’ll go in another direction. But radio’s not a tangible thing. It’s air. It’s not like they have to change the assembly line to make the new format. I’m left with words I’ve gathered and assembled carefully and it’s a story I grew very fond of and wanted to tell. No one disputes its value. It just doesn’t have a home anymore.
I’d like you to send me your experiences of cancelled projects and whatever else got suddenly shelved because of a change in employment status. This must happen all the time and in every type of industry. I’ll compile them for an upcoming blog (or 2, or 6…) and maybe we can all feel a little less alone by reading others’ tales of toiling for naught. Meantime, anybody want to buy a homeless article?