I've got a knot in my neck the size of a grapefruit (yes, still) and while I wait for the Flexeril to kick in I thought I'd share how it got there. See, a few weeks ago I got the bright idea to get an entry ready for the memoir portion of the annual Writer's Digest Contest. It all started with an innocent comment from my writing buddy, Juliette.
"I love Chapter 13!"
Yep! That's what she said. So I ran with it.
And that's when I thought, "Well, hell...let's give it a shot."
It was supposed to be easy. My plan was to edit the chapter down to the required max of 2,000 words, and bounce it back to Juliette for a final once over. Because she's cool frijoles like that. And I, of course, (who can spot a diamond in the dark) can't see a typo of my own until it trips me.
That's when I found the word "desert" in my essay. (It was supposed to be "dessert." See? Now do you get the title for this post? Clever? Huh? Yeeeeeeah.) Not alarmed, I tweaked, edited, and sent it back to Juliette begging her to help me whittle 2,267 words into a polished 2k.
And because she's busier than hell with a real job and other priorities, I patiently waited while she attacked her to-do list and emailed me back with suggestions, cuts, and messages about how tired she was.
That's when I realized "sugar free" needs a hyphen. And that the sentence with the words, "my parent's house" had the apostrophe in, like, totally the wrong spot? That wouldn't go over so well with a judge, me thinks.
So I made a few changes and sent it back. Then she did the same.
And we have continued to do so for the better part of the last few weeks because Karma (and my Muse) wanted to make it perfectly clear that editing is an ongoing process and well, that I'm not prefect. (Yeah, yeah..I did that one on purpose.)
We found a dropped word. An unnecessary "a". An uncapped "Mom." And our last collective nerve.
Seriously, people, this is why I was a reported in my former life and didn't work as a copy editor. I suck at editing copy. Ask Juliette. She'll tell you. Hell, read my tweets. Or my blog. Or that cover letter for the PR job I was trying to snag right outta college where I proudly proclaimed my "extensive experience in pubic relations."
Oh, and I didn't get that job. (Yeah, I know. I was surprised, too.)
Finally, after @beltonwriter agreed to graciously read what we are sincerely hoping is the "real" final, final, final draft, we're pretty confident that the submission is almost to the point of not sucking enough to actually submit. Because seriously, it's no secret that perfectly good writing can get lost in a sea of third-graders learning how to remember the difference between "desert" and "dessert."
Now does everyone understand why I insisted on starting this whole process months before the deadline?