Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Getting it wrong

Oh dear. I had a phone call from an editor asking me to phone them back urgently this afternoon as they'd just noticed a discrepancy in my text and photos. They just wanted clarification on two points as they were about to go to press and the editor had done their final read through of the proofs.

I don't know how it happened and I was so sure that I had labelled all my images correctly and I had been through the text with what I thought was a fine toothed comb - but obviously I need a finer comb! It was easily fixed, however but even now my heart is thumping and my cheeks are red with embarrassment. It took me a couple of hours to calm down and I still can't shake the feeling that something is still amiss somewhere. You know that feeling, when you start to second guess yourself and doubt that anything you've ever written or will ever write again is full of inaccuracies.

It's extremely unprofessional and can be very damaging to a writer's career if they get things wrong. Luckily, I was able to rectify my mistake, thanks to the eagle eye of the editor - but they shouldn't have had to do that - my copy should be immaculate and accurate when I submit it. Lesson learned and a warning to everyone else. Check, check then CHECK again all the details in your copy - they are very important! I don't know how I managed to miss it and it's so unlike me - I am a control freak and like to get things just so - but I failed this time - but never again!

I am now obsessively trawling through my articles several times over. I don't want this to happen again. The editor was very gracious and accepted my apology but I still feel daft and so wish it hadn't happened in the first place - will be kicking myself for sometime to come and being ultra careful. I keep imagining what would have happened if the editor hadn't realised and it had gone to print - the people interviewed wouldn't have been best pleased and it could have meant the editor declining to take any of my future work.So be very careful and learn from my unpleasant experience.

I soon cheered up when I read Liam O'Connell's excellent book Don't Feed The Ducks http://www.liamoconnell.co.uk/ Liam is the motivational speaker I've mentioned before on my blog who did a motivational workshop at my writing group last year, and I always turn back to his book when I'm feeling not to inspired or have a shock like today!! And, as if by magic, his words fill me with confidence and I realised that the only disaster would be if I let this temporary blip stop me from writing and learning from my mistakes. As he says in his book s**t happens and it's how you deal with it that makes all the difference.

You can drive yourself demented by the 'What Ifs' and the 'How Could I Have Been So Stupid's' or you can look at your mistake, learn from it and move on. I have chosen the latter and I'm trying not to let negative thoughts hamper my latest writing project and just trying to get on with it.

This time I was lucky but there musn't be a next time.

Happy writing

Julie xx


  1. On the positive, the error was spotted and rectified and you're determined it won't happen again.

    Deep breaths, Julie.

    And thanks for the link.


  2. Definitely deep breaths, Suzanne! Liam O'Connell is a life safer - his enthusiam is infectious and never fails to enable you to see a way forward and vault over the obstacles in your way!

    Julie xx

  3. Mistakes happen and I'm sure the editor will realise that this is just an innocent mistake. Believe me, editors are not infallible either!

    As Suzanne says - be grateful that the mistake was spotted!

  4. Don't be too hard on yourself Julie. An article I had published had an error made in printing. I really worried when I read the published copy and doubted myself, but checking my manuscript it was their error. These things do happen, like you say put it down to experience and well done for getting it accepted in the first place!