Almost falling in traffic while carrying Mister was a near miss I do not wish to repeat (it is rainy today and I’m not wearing those shoes again). I’ve had some near misses with my writing too. And some hits that turned into disaster.
Salsanpeeps shared a writing disaster many of us can relate to.
I distinctly remember deleting writing assignments in college evenings before they were due. In one particular instance, I deleted an entire paper (not too long… somewhere in the vicinity of 12 pages) as I was putting on the finishing touches on the evening before the paper was due. I then spent all night working on it for my 8:00 AM class.
I arrived at the class, handed in the paper, and was informed that it had to be accompanied by an oral presentation. So… I winged it. It was the start of a no-good, very-bad day. I wound up dropping my shampoo and soap out the third story window on my way to the shower, falling down the stairs, falling up the stairs, failing another writing assignment, etc.
I remember getting the “blue screen” on my laptop the night before a paper was due. If I ever have heart problems, that might be a contributing factor.
Since I’ve started writing for children, I’ve had some almost disasters that have stuck with me.
When I started writing seriously, I signed up for a children’s writing course through the local community college. Each session was half lecture about the craft and half critique. On my night to get critiqued, I brought the first chapter of my new book (what has now become the first book of my TOMBOY RULES series). I just finished writing it the day of the class. To me, it still looked perfect. When the members of the class didn’t think it was so perfect, and rightly so, I was devastated. I clearly wasn’t ready for critique. That night, I swore off writing…and took it back the next day.
In the sales world where Husband works, it is recommended that when you get a “no,” you ask for a referral for someone who would give you a “yes.” He told me this right around when I started querying agents. I thought about it, but thank goodness I didn’t follow through. Now I know how silly (and annoying) that would have been to an agent.
I’ve also had some writing disasters. I asked a friend to edit a long rhyming poem to make it scan. I got the changes and typed them in without saving the original. A few months later, when I went back to edit the poem again, I realized that some of the plot was missing. It wasn’t my friend’s fault. She did what I asked her to do. It was my fault for not looking closely at the changes and for not saving a copy of the original. Now I always save a new copy of each piece before I make any changes. And I’m still trying to get that poem back.
I submitted to the closest thing I’ve found to my dream agent WAY before I was ready. My manuscript wasn’t ready. My query wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. I got no response. My chance to impress that agent, and that agency, was wasted.
I’m sure there will be many more disasters and near disasters as I continue this writing journey. But, just like life, the mistakes help me grow as a person and as I writer.
Other links about writing screw-ups:
photo from www.girlswithpens.com