The Five-Minute Meltdown

There I was, boasting that critiques were bouncing off my back as positive reinforcement that what I was writing was good. Not just good, people asked to read more! They complimented my characters, appreciated the depth and complexity of thought, laughed where I wanted them to.

Then one note came along. It wasn’t negative. It was crazy helpful, but there was an asterisk. Then another critique came. And another.

Turns out my lack of a formal education in English (my high school English never prepared me for real life, mind you, and I’ve been working my best to overcome that) opened up a glaring, GLARING, error in my writing.

Not just in the two chapters I had posted.

This error was going to be in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY BOOKS. That’s right, over 200K words I would have to go through and edit because of a simple oversight.

Meltdown.

Was all this work for nothing? Is this so glaring of an error I’m never going to be taken seriously? All I wanted was to find something I loved and now this note pulled the rug out from under my recently discovered passion.

And in those five minutes of terror and panic, I realized something: I get to read my books over again. Not just reading them over again, reading them over with a stricter purpose. By looking for this single oversight, I took an even more in-depth look at my writing.

Sentences I once loved were fixed to become even greater. Deep insight suddenly made sense again. Slowly I realized that figuring this out now (and not 30 years down the road when I’d hopefully have over 5M words to edit) was actually the best thing to happen.

Yeah, it sucked to hear that something so small had thrown me off my game. But I am thankful I still have the chance to get back on the editing chain. I actually like that part of the process. In five minutes, I regrouped and went at this with a fresh outlook.

Tomorrow I get to find new areas to improve.

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