No matter how far you get, hurdles will always exist. Sometimes they come in the form of people, events, or conflicts, but the worst kind is when you are what holds you back. We often talk about self-doubt and mental health issues. These are extremely difficult to deal with and it’s important to keep sharing personal experiences to give voice to others who may not have been heard. (Says the bipolar dyslexic who still doesn’t believe she’s a “real” writer)
That is not what I’m talking about today. I want to address the worst pitfall of all, an honest but messy mistake. From finding typos in submissions to realizing you deleted an important file, the pressure to be perfect increases every day.
Writers may be whimsical spirits bursting to escape the confines of their own mortality, but we are still very human. It’s okay to screw up. It’s okay to get mad at yourself when you do. The only thing you should never do is expect that you’ll stop hitting snags every now and then.
Last year my work was published alongside such greats as Neil Gaiman and Chuck Palahniuk. This year I submitted the wrong draft of my best work to two different professional publications.
Yeah. Not matter how high you climb you will always be human, and that’s okay. At least this is what I keep telling myself.
I’m still angry at myself. I mean, am I trying to sabotage my own career?
Or maybe I’m just pushing too hard.
Whatever the reason, I can’t fix this. The rejections are already in.
I slaved over a story. Put everything into it. Perfected every line, scrutinized every word. It wasn’t enough.
That’s never enough. How you present the work is just as important as how you write it. I botched it. I didn’t even realize it until the second rejection.
How? How could this happen?
I had worked on two different computers at multiple intervals and had to upload newer versions as I went. Extra versions were exchanged… you can guess the rest.
Did I throw my computer?
Did I light my house on fire?
Did I run away and cry in a gutter?
I definitely wanted to. But that’s the best part of being a writer, remembering your readers. My best story was written for them, for YOU. So as much as it hurts, I dragged my mangled ego back to the table. Plopped it before another publisher, bloodied and all.
Mistakes happen. We are imperfect. Learning and working toward being the best never ends because everything in publishing is subjective.
I made sure to properly mark all existing files and organize them. All authors should have a clean-up your files day at least once a year. I inadvertently forced myself to do it.
I may get another rejection, I may not. I’ve already gotten two so one more won’t hurt as much. The acceptance is just around the corner.