So I turned in my first writing assignment today, feeling all happy and accomplished. I was even fantasizing about how I can put a link in my blog to this article when it gets published. And then I got an email saying that my article has been reviewed and requires rewrites.
As you know, I am not good with negative feedback, so I tried to prepare myself for the worst: What if they say it’s all wrong? Then I’ll just correct it and give them what they want. That sounds easy enough. And then I read the comments.
I have to give the editor credit; that was the most constructive way possible of saying that my article sucked. I didn’t answer the person’s question. I used examples more appropriate for middle-aged women than the teenagers and young adults who read the website. I had one good sentence in the entire article. I didn’t use AP format. I didn’t follow the writing guidelines.
I’m sure she was thinking, did you not read any of the materials we sent you?! I did! I really did. Except for the AP manual. I haven’t gotten it in the mail yet. I really wanted to get started, and I thought, how different can it be from APA or MLA format?
Would it be unprofessional if I wrote “Oops!” in the notes to the editor section?
My first thought was to quit since I obviously have no idea what I’m doing. But then I decided to write myself a pep talk: You work closely with an editor for the first 3 assignments for a reason; you’re supposed to suck. In fact, I bet they give writers that bonus after the 3rd article because some people get so demoralized by all the rewrites that they give up.
Then I worked on the rewrite for several hours. I have another draft but I have no idea whether this version is any better than the first one because I don’t trust my judgment anymore. I guess this is why people are afraid to get their hopes up; the fall is so much higher from the grandiose cloud that I was floating on.
I may not be good with positive feedback, but I am the Mt. Everest climber of impossible tasks. Knitting pattern that is far more complicated than my skill level? I’ll have it done by Christmas. My football team is 2-5? Well, we still have 4 more chances to win! My tennis team is 1-6? I’ll just pretend that we are in our second season, and we’re only down 0-1 in this one.
Sometimes it helps to be a little delusional. If we made all of our decisions based on what we think we are capable of, we may never take the risk of finding out what is possible.