Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Confessions of a Lazy Writer


Last February, I entered a contest while I was lying in bed sick. When I discovered I had only a day or two to submit to this particular one, I slapped together my required word count and shot it off.


A few days ago, I could have thrown up when I looked up my submission and discovered what I'd sent. A not-very-well-put-together-unread-version of something that should have been edited better.


Lazy is the best word I can use to describe myself in those kind of situations. It makes me want to throw up when I think about what I did. It isn't the first time either.


So here's my advice to help you not do what I did.



How to Avoid being a Lazy Writer

(or how to keep your work from ending up in the toilet)






1. Take the time to read and reread anything you send out for all errors. I forgot to change every name in the piece as I trusted the computer to do it for me.



2. Lay it out in an acceptable way--spacing and page breaks and indentation. It does matter to an editor how it looks.



3. Pass on a submission opportunity if you don't have the time to send your best--do it another time when you do.



PS --Yes, that was my office in the picture yesterday but it's only clean cause of the house being for sale!

21 comments:

Greg C said...

I have fallen into the same trap. Get it out, time is running out and of course it ended up in someone's trash. Work is taking up lots of my time at the moment so instead of rushing to meet a chicken soup deadline I have opted to take my time and turn it in when I have done my best work. Great advice.

Andrea said...

Thank you. We all have the tendancy to get lazy now and again.

Warren Baldwin said...

Following these suggestions would have helped me with some of my graduate school papers, too! One other one that works for me, too - have someone else read it.

Janna Qualman said...

Sound advice, Terri!

Jessica said...

LOL Terri! No throwing up allowed. We all do this once in awhile. I know the temptation of entering contests too! It's so strong. :-)

I'd cut yourself some slack though. You were sick too. ;-)

Lin said...

maybe add, let yourself be sick and submit later. I've found also that it helps to read it out loud to someone to catch errors you miss in reading. good info. thanks.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

It's a beautiful office, and this bathroom is beautiful, too. Is it yours as well?

Don't sweat it, Terri. We all get in the rush mode sometimes, and it teaches us big lessons when we make mistakes. But thankfully we learn from those lessons.

Cindy said...

Thanks for sharing the experience. You're totally right, it's amazing the difference a well-polished submission can make. If we don't have the time to get it right, we should probably not send it at all.

Wendy said...

Good tips. I've been guilty of something similar...thanks for confessing. :D
~ Wendy

Carmen Gamble said...

Thanks for the good advice!

Jody Hedlund said...

I think it's even worthwhile to get a paid edit done of your contest entry. A lot of published author's offer special contest critiques in the early part of the spring. I took advantage of one and am so glad that I did! She gave me some great ideas on ways I could polish my entries and make them even better.

Melissa Marsh said...

Ugh. But we've all done it. Don't beat yourself up about it too much! :-)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Not a lazy looking bathroom or office! You must be doing something productive over there...

Thinking of you as you ponder your rough draft; it's sometimes hard to edit. I find that after reading my stuff three of four times, I'm bored with it. I hope that's normal.

peace~elaine

Kara said...

Ohhh, I've done this too! Very good advice:)

Jill Kemerer said...

I wouldn't call it lazy, so much as sick, harassed, and courageous. Good for you for entering another contest! I embarrass myself often and afterward I know God is just trying to tell me something. Don't let it get you down!

T. Anne said...

Great advice! Lord knows I've sent things our shamefully myself.

Kristen Painter said...

Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way, you know?

Brenda Leyland said...

Terri, I haven't been around for a while, but I'm glad I popped by again. Good to read what's happening in your world of words!

Good advice too!

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

The difference, though between you and someone like me is that even with some less-than-perfect submissions, you are being published more than an over-editor who doesn't finish anything because they never like it enough to send off. Think of it as confidence and not laziness!

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

I just sent that but realized I left the second to the last sentence un-edited. Oh, well. Don't knock yourself. We are all imperfect people with imperfect stories but a perfect interceder who can give us the perfect solution to meeting our goals.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

One way to avoid the last-minute submission crunch, start early and turn it in early. If I find out about an opportunity too late, I pass it up.

I've learned these lessons the hard way.

Blessings,
Susan :)