Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slowing down

44 in a 35.

Not too bad of numbers.

But bad enough for a $160 speeding ticket.

"But I've never driven in this area before. I'm on my way to a baby shower," my daughter told the policeman. In tears.

"It's posted four times, ma'am."

"Don't you ever give warnings? I've never had a ticket before in this state."

I had to give her credit. She tried everything in her arsenal to plead her case.

"Just read the back of the ticket."

We don't always get second chances or warnings.

How many times have you sent in a story, article or query letter and didn't read the submission rules? How many times have you been rushing and sent it without a good read through?

We don't always get second chances or warnings.

I've read countless agent blogs where their biggest complaint and reason for rejection is because the writer didn't follow the rules. Simple rules.

Increase your numbers. Take your time. Don't get caught in tears because of a simple broken rule.

37 comments:

Greg C said...

Terry that is so true about not only writing but so many other things in life. The initial opinion usually sticks. Sometimes you don't get a second chance so you have to make that first shot count. I am so guilty of this. If I am not ready for something instead of waiting until I am, I often just put out what I have and hope for the best. Not a good thing to do.

Andrea said...

We don't always get second chances at many things. Today could be our last day here on earth. We need to do our best and make the most of each day. Like many, I don't always do my best. Thank you for the reminder.
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Trudy said...

Sorry about the ticket...but definitely a great lesson you've shared here Terri, one that can be applied to so many different areas of our lives!

Blessings my friend!

Janna Qualman said...

A very good lesson! Excellent post.

I'm so sorry about that ticket she got. :(

Natalie said...

Oh I hate speeding tickets. You always feel so dumb when it's over. Following rules is a crucial life skill (and writing skill too)

Diane said...

I wanted to cry just reading your post. Short but you drove the point home! :O)

Cindy said...

Super, super advice. I read an agent blog recently that said close to half of her rejections that week were because people put in attachments with their query. It clearly says on the guidelines not to do that. That's over 100 queries in one week that got rejected! Following guidelines is soooo important, not to mention professional.

Lin Floyd said...

great advice. Good thing the Lord is a little more compassionate...

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Terry,

Excellent analogy, and good point, too. I still kick myself for sending off a query to an agent I truly respect BEFORE I should have. Months later I completely re-wrote the query and WISH they could read it now.

Lesson learned!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Really sorry about your daughter’s ticket. It’s tough and, well, it just hurts. As to agent requirements. Yes, I have sympathy with them for submissions that don’t meet requirements…on the other hand, it seems no two requirements are the same. Take something as simple as the synopsis. Length requirements vary greatly, and these difficult to write documents gotta fit the guidelines or some horrible fate awaits them. So, maybe if we could have a standardized set of requirements, or at least some flexibility on certain topics, life would be better for all.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Gaia said...

Hi Terri thanks for this reminder. Will definately have to do my best in everything. Sometimes just get too lazy. hiaz.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, no! $160? Ouch! That's a shame.

Slow down. Yes, that's a very good reminder for everything in life.
(except child birth) LOL!

Lazy Writer said...

Oh, yes! I have made some crazy mistakes. I am being very careful to avoid those my second time around. Great post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Oh, this brings back memories! Fortunately, I escaped with a warning. You can bet I'm super careful now.

I once sent a proposal to a magazine about country living. I grew up in an area of a city that was considered "the sticks" because it hadn't been developed. They didn't buy the premise.

Blessings,
Susan :)

ginny said...

I can understand. My daughter got one about a month ago, and it cost her that much also. sad, but true. Life does not give us warnings unfortunately in any aspect. This is a lesson I found very hard to learn.

Melissa Marsh said...

Great points. I need to remember to slow down in lots of areas of life!

Jessica said...

:-( Feeling bad for your daughter. That policemen sure was grumpy. Heh.

Good tie-in with writing though, and very true.

Karen Lange said...

What a great illustration, although sorry to hear about your daughter's adventure. I've been thinking lately along these lines, although more in terms of following directions. I teach writing to teens online, and some can forget to follow directions. When it happens, I always reflect on how well I follow directions - not always so well...good reminder. Thanks and blessings!

Kara said...

I'm sorry for your daughter that stinks!! But you are right about writing. I've heard it said many times that you MUST follow all rules or risk your work being thrown out. That would be awful!

Amy Tate said...

Ugh...that hurts my feelings for her, I'm sorry!
You know, that's the number one reason I DON'T like to submit through email. I don't know why, but I'm not as cautious through email as I would be with print. Thanks for the reminder!

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Rules are made to be tampered with....except when dealing with a publisher! Follow those Submission Guidelines! They're not Submission Suggestions - tee hee! Sorry about the ticket she got.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Sorry about your daughter's ticket, but boy did it hit home with agent second chances. Now you're making me second guess myself. What if I did screw it up?

Rose Mary said...

I feel for you daughter! I wish we always did get second chances.

I always cringe when I get something back from an editor that points out some blaring mistake that I somehow didn't notice when I sent it in~I'm trying to be more careful. I find it best to let the piece alone for a few days and then re-read it. Our mind just fills in too many little glitches when we read it over and over!

Analisa said...

Great post and while the 160 was an ouch. That ticket will make her more aware.

Also thanks for reminding us to follow the rules.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

this is a GREAT analogy. just wonderful, really. we all need to take this advice and go slow through the process, not steamrolling ahead.

jeannie
Where Romance Meets Therapy

Jeanette Levellie said...

Great post, Terri, but sorry your daughter had to be the example!

Ouchy!

Jill Kemerer said...

Absolutely! Thanks for the reminder.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Timely post; my son was in traffic court this morning for his first ticket, pleading his case. Bless his heart; while I'd rather forego the ticket, I'm glad for this experience. Valuable lessons are learned when we are forced to deal with the consequences of our breaking the rules.

peace~elaine

Nancy said...

Yes, once I tried to get around the rules. Just once. The newspaper wanted a reporter, but I sent then stories about a possible column. Of course it didn't work.

Amy De Trempe said...

Excellent point. I know I need to slow down a lot, especially when reading. I could should also slow down in life in general as well.

LisaShaw said...

Hey friend, thank you for this message. I'm sorry for what your daughter endured but I file it away under life lessons and great wisdom tools for later in life. We've all been there in some form or fashion in terms of pleading our case if you will in some situation.

I'm JUST so glad that GOD doesn't say read the back of the ticket! :) I'm so glad He gives second chances too!! :)

Thanks for the lesson.

Love and blessings.

MichaƩle said...

Ouchiwawa...$106? I did once get a $110 ticket while stopped for speeding (which I admitted I was) but instead, the officer wrote the ticket because there was only one signature on the car's registration...my husband's, not mine. Grrr...I would rather have paid for something I KNOW I did wrong than for a silly oversight!

I have been very guilty of not reading the rules carefully. Last year, my son and I were about finished with a very lengthy college scholarship application when we got to the very end and saw something that disqualified him from the whole thing...he wasn't a resident of Texas!

Angie Ledbetter said...

I know this sounds trite, but when detours and things like that happen to me, I think it's my guardian angel protecting me from worse things down the road.

Tamika: said...

I can sympathize with your daughter, we all reach for second chances from time to time.

Your point is well noted, I will take the time to learn this craft. Simply because it is what I have come to love.

Blessings to you...

Kathryn Magendie said...

I know how strict I can be at Rose & Thorn - it's because we get so many submissions and when it's clear someone doesn't take the time to read, well, delete! Not that we don't take into account people make mistakes, we're human, but, it's usually clear when someone just doesn't care to follow the guidelines.

I used to be in a hurry about querying, but I've learned to hold off, take my time....well, I haven't been querying, but when I do again, I will take my time *laughing*

carolynyalin said...

Great post, and message.

Carmen said...

I feel for your daughter. Those fines are rough!! So much for the 10 mph grace theory. Some lessons are hard to learn...in writing and in life.