Sunday, March 19, 2017


We writers aren't very good with humility.  Sure, we talk a good game, and we're good at being self-deprecating so that everyone thinks we don't fully believe in ourselves, but let's be honest - most of that is an act.  Yes, we may be insecure when it comes to hoping others like our stories, but in the end, we all believe we're so much smarter than the rest of the world.  We're creative!  We write in ways that can make our readers cry!  And deep?  Hoo boy, we're so friggin' deep.

At least this is the conceited world in which most of us live.

However, every so often, something comes along that reminds us that we're not as good as we think we are.  For me, that point came this week while having folks look at Akeldama.  I was riding high - my cover looked great, the book had been formatted just right, and I was ready to move to getting a proof copy.  Yet I still had a proofreader out, but I just knew that that was a formality.

So this person approached me on Friday with a few things he noticed.  I shrugged, confident that he just didn't get one of the ways I was using to give voice to the story...right up until he pointed out a minor spelling mistake that occurred in multiple places.  Damn! I thought.  I guess I'll have to send that back to the formatter.

Much to my dismay, that wasn't the only one.

Several of my sentences that were questions ended in periods.  And one of ellipses had only two dots instead of three.  And I'd misspelled "methemoglobin"(which this asshole found with a simple spell check).  Plus I'd pluralized one of the character's names instead of making it possessive as it needed to be.

Fuck me, I thought.  This is humiliating.

So I prepared yet another correction sheet and sent it off to my exceptional formatter, Cheryl Perez.  She has been very understanding throughout this process as I meander my way through my first publication.  And although she has been very professional and assured me that this is nothing out of the ordinary, I can't help but feel like a dunce.

This whole episode has reminded me of a lesson you'd have thought I learned after 43 years of looking like an idiot when I get too confident - just when you think you're at the top, something will remind you you're not as good as you thought you were.  And you know what?  We need that lesson.  We need to be reminded that while confidence is great, arrogance can come back to bite you.  Imagine if I'd gone to press with what I thought was a finished work and people came up to me with their copy and pointed out the mistakes.  Not only would it have been both embarrassing and amateurish, it would have been expensive as I recalled those crap bags and re-done them.  Or I could've just gone with what was out there and been shown up for not being the professional I've aspired to be.  You know...just to be a conceited prick.

Yup, this lesson will be with me for a long time.  Hopefully I won't have to keep repeating it.

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