More so in the SpecFic world than the Romance world, this is a normal step in the publication process. The prospective writer takes a position (usually unpaid) either slushing for a magazine or editing. This helps teach them good story structure, what works and what flops, and also helps them understand the industry better. It also helps them forge ties with others in the industry.
So why am I not an editor or a slusher? Well, that’s -my- issue. You see, I know I’m not good at dividing my time. I’m one of those people who ends up taking on more and more and more responsibility…and then when would I write? Let me give you some examples: When I worked at a grocery store, I started as a cashier, but 4 years later I was the Assistant Bookkeeper, Assistant Scan Coordinator, Back-Up Receiving Clerk, and I managed Health Foods, Gourmet Foods, Asian Foods, Dietetic Foods, and Bulk Foods. When I was a buyer, I started off with 3 departments…when I left the company a few years later, I had 10. When I was a teacher, I coached (at various times) the UIL Math Competition Team, Academic Team, Robotics, Mock Trial, and sponsored the CIA, Mu Alpha Theta, Chess Club…
There’s a pattern there. Volunteering is a tricky thing for me, because I start sliding down that same slippery slope. In a recent year, I was talked into running for treasurer for a writers group that had 700-800 members. I wanted to give back, so I agreed to try. I was told up front that it was, at most, a 10 hour a week job. So not true. It turned out that I would also be the registrar for their conference, membership, and writing contest. By the time the conference rolled around, I was putting in 40 hours a week…
…and getting very little writing done.
My husband suggested very strongly that I not volunteer for anything again for a long time. Now I have volunteered at a few cons and did agree to work for a magazine, although that particular effort didn’t pan out. But I’ve learned my lesson. No more battling dragons for me. I can’t do that and write.
I admire the people who can. In an industry that relies heavily on volunteers, they keep things running. They run the cons and the magazines and all without pay and very little thanks.
But hey….I appreciate it, folks!