After coming off of a few days of writing bliss, I was not expecting the powerful blow I received this morning. With a thud, my butt hit the floor, and though I have since stood back up and dusted myself off, I can’t help but notice the rather large black and blue bruise in the mirror.
Certainly, I am confident in my writing ability, and I believe I have a very strong story with a very, very enticing beginning. But I also realize that there are probably numerous books authored by people who believe the same about theirs as I do mine. Unfortunately, though I am confident in my writing, I’m not confident in my grammar, and more often than not, I consider myself very grammatically challenged.
And that is the problem – the blow – that has left me bruised.
For months, I have been anticipating the night when I finally hear the results for the book contest at the OWFI conference in May. While I’ve never allowed myself to believe beyond a doubt my book would win or place in the top three, I did imagine at least a few times how I would feel walking up to the podium to accept my winning certificate. How could I not? To not picture the joy would be harder than not imagining what I would do after I won the lottery, which admittedly, I have done.
The whole month of January passed in a blur. I was in the process of a company audit, the corporate officers from Italy were visiting along with the owner of the company, I was fighting a cold, trying to plan my daughter’s birthday party, and I was trying to get the Preface and Chapter One ready for the contest. In the end, I didn’t have time to get my submission to my wonderful cousin for copyediting before the entry deadline. Of course, part of me knew my submission wasn’t perfect, (Hello! Grammatically challenged person talking here!) but at the same time, I thought that I had combed through it enough that I had at least caught and corrected anything that would keep it from placing or receiving an honorable mention.
I didn’t believe “I had it in the bag” but I believed I was at least holding the darn bag.
So you can imagine my cringing shock when I opened up the finally copyedited document today and (BAM) saw all the red lines on the first page of the Preface. Ugh. Even hours later, my head still hurts from hitting the table. While I admit the errors are not catastrophic, I fear they are disastrous enough to keep the book from placing. How could they not? Last year there were seventeen entires in the Historical Fiction category. How could a book with grammar, sentence, and word usage errors even be noticed in a stack of seventeen other books that have probably been copyedited or at least written by someone who actually paid attention in English class?
Perhaps I am overreacting, perhaps I’m not. I won’t know until May 5th when I’m sitting at the table in the hotel ballroom. Certainly, I feel deflated. Certainly, I don’t want to face the notion that I, more than likely, ruined any chance I had. But with that said, I certainly can’t do anything about the situation I am now in so the pity party girl screaming in my head will just have to sit down and shut up. All I can do is lick my wounds, sit up tall, and keep working on the novel. Hopefully, I’m wrong about how detrimental the errors are, but at the same time, I can’t control that situation any more than I can control this one.