Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sharp Words Can Be A Wake-Up Call

Once, a doctor sent me a note along with some test results that showed higher numbers than is desired for glucose. "I want this number below 100!!!!" he wrote. Not exactly the movie script type of kindly, country doctor. Those four exclamation marks at the end of his directive made me aware of the situation I was in. If I didn't get the number down I was headed for diabetes, only pre-diabetes at this time, but now was the time to do something. And I did, thanks to my doctor approaching me with a strong statement and those glaring exclamation marks.

Last week, I received sharp words from an editor which turned out to be another wake-up call. This particular editor has published several of my articles that deal with the craft of writing. I sent her a new article that dealt with seven ways to sell herself as a writer. The editor wrote to me saying she fully expected to buy whatever I'd sent her as she knew I was a good writer. That had me preening my feathers a bit, at least until I read further. She chastised me in no uncertain terms saying that the article was 'muddled' and covered two topics. I'd be interested in seeing an article that....... she concluded. An invitation to resubmit in her statement.

I have to admit that those sharp words made me feel like a child being scolded by her mother. They hurt. The article had been through a critique session at my online critique group. None of those who critted it saw what the editor pointed out at that time. Part of the article dealt with selling yourself as a writer to editors and part of it was directed at selling yourself to readers. I stewed over the whole thing for a few days, sent the article back to the wac group for another objective viewpoint, and finally agreed with what the editor had told me.

Lots of other things going on kept me from answering the editor's message for over a week, and perhaps that was a good thing. Had I fired back an answer that first day, it might not have been the same one I sent yesterday. I'm glad I took some time to consider her words and to take a good hard look at the article before revising it. I wrote to her yesterday to let her know I was willing to revise the article and resubmit it.

Last night, I worked on the article, slashing parts and adding others. I wanted it to sit overnight before I sent it as sometimes things that look good at the time of writing can appear fairly lame the next day. When I opened my e-mail in-box this morning, there was an answer to my message I sent to the editor yesterday. It's a good feeling when a writer and editor can have a positive working relationship. I'm hoping she'll like the revision better and will buy it. Stay tuned!

Once again, I have reason to be thankful for sharp words that opened my eyes. If the words sting, take some time to step back and look at whatever it is as objectively as possible. You'll grow as a writer and just might sell more articles.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes when I write something, I think it is wonderful immediately upon completion. However, the next day I might think it's lame. While the the third day, I might think it's wonderful again. I think it depends a lot on my mood at the time I'm reading. Argh!