The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you wil make one – Elbert Hubbard
Last week I send a fellow writer friend a scene, or chapter if you want, that I have written for a story. It was a rough draft that I had clean some error from, meaning that I used the “Proofread Writing” on Word, and then just send it.
I told her that I am a Latina, so my main language is Spanish, but since I read so much in English I also wrote. She knew all this. I knew all this, at least I was aware I told her this.
She asked me if I wanted her to comment on my English, and knowing, or mostly thinking she was going to find big mistakes, I told her yes. So she took her time, and I’m grateful for that, and read my work.
A few days ago I got her Comments on the Google Docs I’ve share with her. At first I wasn’t going to look at it. I was scared of what she would say, what she had found. Then I told myself I was being silly, so I did look at the Comments. Mind you I’ve said looked, not read completely.
I got spooked by the sheer amount of mistakes she had found on that particular scene. And as per usual, I went into a small panic mode inside my head. My brain was throwing things at me, words like:
- That was only one scene! What if it was a complete first draft?!
- Maybe you should stick to writing in Spanish.
- Your Spanish is rusty at best.
- What would your Spanish teacher said if she read something you wrote today. She would be ashamed of you.
- Ha! The best Spanish student now can’t even write properly in Spanish, much less in English.
- Maybe you should stop writing all together.
- Go back to Fanfiction.
- What made you think you could write anyway?
Some of this phrases may seem a little over the top for you, but it was my brain talking, like it always does. No matter if is a good thing or a bad one, my brain will always have something to say. And yes, I call my inner critique, my brain.
I took a fortifying breath and read each Comment carefully. With each one left behind I felt better and better. I had overreacted to the whole situation. It wasn’t THAT bad.
Yeah, I did have the tenses wrong. I did have misspellings. I did have some long-winded paragraphs that needed to be fixed. I also have some other minor mistakes, but nothing life altering.
In fact, when I finish reading and noting what she corrected, I sigh in relief. She didn’t hate it, and the errors where easy enough to correct. And then it hit me, out of nowhere.
Duh! This is why some authors pay professional editors to review their work. This is why authors send their work to Beta Readers. If the author can’t see a mistake, it’s logical that other people will see it, point it out and the author can correct them.
I felt so silly after realising this that I didn’t know what to say or do. It was so logical and obvious that I felt dumb. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer learning, so this is one of the things I have to learn about my writing.
“Rough drafts are not mean to be perfect.” This I know. I’ve read that phrase so many times before, but always catches me unaware when I least expected it.
There is always room for improvement, and if I can’t see the mistakes, I can always rely on others to point them out. I will fix those mother fuckers and get the best story I can possibly have, before I shared with the rest of the big wide world by publishing it somewhere.