Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dear Writer, You ARE Your Own Client

Much like how files in the office are well-organized while leaving something to be desired at home, I conscientiously draft client documents in a word file before pasting a meticulously corrected copy into an email or post. Social Media? I write the post, then allow for a"cooling-off" period before pulling its trigger. That usually leads to carving a shorter, punchier post out of it while catching any sneaky typographical issue. But at home, I'm happily drafting in Gmail or Blogger, playing a form of Russian Roulette with my text. Tonight, I learned my lesson. Twice.

My laptop is the kind with the wide space below the keys that brackets the track pad. I assume its for resting the heels of one's hands as they type. That's what I use it for. When I type, I do it fast and my hands squirm their way up as I go, bunching my fingers until typos start due to the speed and positioning. By then my hands are also so high that they'll depress the ALT or Control or Function keys. As a result, every so often I trigger with a combination something I didn't expect or intend, like opening a search field or a new tab.

Sometimes, though, it's worse. I'll wind up rolling back a page, losing work in the process. Now here's where I get naked and share my daily double-dose of "whoopsie," and the lessons I learned. That kind of roll-back happened tonight while I was trying to add an image to a post, along with some CTRL-hotkey text-grabbing badness... and I lost a great draft of an essay. I may try to recreate once the annoyance I have with myself wears off. Even worse, later my fat hands somehow wound up submitting a cover letter before I'd made the final edit. Nothing like auditioning for someone and blasting them with a premature draft that held a spacing mistake, a capitalization error, and worst of all, a misspelled word. If you know me you know that I loathe typos.

I followed up with a corrected email. I did have a doc draft, yet I still made a mistake by correcting in the live, pasted-in document, I'd suppose out of some sense of misguided expediency. It really was a good letter, but that near-final premature draft still slipped out. I confess these sins, these "Noob Mistakes," because that letter is somewhere, lurking to haunt me later, much like how all these internet nudes will bite people who don't yet know they aspire to politics in the ass.

All I know is that I'll work harder to be my own client. I mean, I am, and a primary one at that. They always get the double-proofread, while for me, it's sometimes been type and post with just a cursory skim. Here's tonight's take-away to aspiring pro-writers like myself: Treat your own work like you treat your clients', then treat 'em both better. 

I also share it because it made me wonder: do I not see the writing I do for myself being as important as the work I do for others? I'm working on my answer. I realized for a long time now I would have responded with "I don't know. Maybe." It could be I imagine it to be ephemera, and as such, of "lesser importance" (which my Ego reports to be BS). Perhaps it's the awkwardness of reading your own work? I'm willing to "kill my darlings," but haven't always made sure the little dears have rehearsed before going onstage, where they might still embarrass us both, but we'll all have a damn good time putting on the best show we can. From here on out, I'll work the steps. My compositional self-esteem has come a long way, but has further to go than I thought.

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