You can bet if I could go back in time I would change a few things. I’d have stuck with my piano lessons and learned how to play show tunes and the Blues. I wouldn’t have quit cross country in the seventh grade just because of a few side cramps. And, I would have packed three less bags to carry on the train trip I took from Dallas to New York to Milwaukee after I graduated college.
Nobody likes to sit next to a traveler with too much baggage.
And, that email I wrote today (because my inner editor kept hounding me about a typo)? I would have sent it a week ago.
Here’s the thing about my inner editor: sometimes she’s there to hassle me, sometimes to push me forward, sometimes to keep me from making a mistake. Like announcing a win before the award letters go out.
Last Saturday, Pen Parentis published their long list of winners for the 2011 Writing Fellowship for New Writers. When I saw my name in Second Place, I couldn’t help but squeal: in my house, on Facebook, here. But there was a typo in my name as they printed it, and my inner editor quietly suggested I, you know, check it all out before I run off hooting and hollering.
But, who wants to do that really?
. . .
An anxious writer who can’t get a typo out of her head.
. . .
When I finally sent the email asking if there might be a confirmation in the mail – electronic or otherwise – for posterity, I mentioned the typo as reason why I wanted to just “double check.” The reply I received, very polite, apologized for the typo and more so for the clerical error.
Turns out, I didn’t place second.
. . .
It would be funny, maybe, if it didn’t feel like a sucker punch.
But here’s the thing about writing: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes there’s a typo that makes a rejection email feel like a pin prick.
You write anyway.
‘The only reason writers survive rejection is because they love writing so much that they can’t bear the idea of giving it up’ ~ M.J. Rose (as quoted in this excellent blog post on Beyond the Margins).