I cannot stress enough the importance of editing your work. Let me give you an example.
Excited and terrified in equal parts by the prospect of my first writer’s conference, I created a business card. Finding the image for the front was easy-peasy. The picture of a girl, well I feel like a girl, young, inexperienced-ish, and naive about the ways of the world, looking out of frame, a no-no according to an advertising bigwig, in a whimsical landscape, summed up my feelings and thoughts.
The words on the back did not.
Instead of the words “Author. Coach. Speaker.” I wrote something quite similar and yet oh so very different in meaning.
I wrote, “Author. Crank. Spanker.” No, no, no! Those words made me wonder about my internal world. What was I really trying to say?
“Author.” Okay, I can get behind that. I write a lot. Some would say I write flash fiction, every hour, on the hour, as a therapist.
In the literary world, I have some publishing credits, not all of them first caliber credits but good enough for someone setting out. A few odds and ends of magazines, BEST OFs, and other anthologies, in print and online. Some good reviews. I am very proud of one review. The reviewer said about the piece, “odd but well-written.” For a piece of erotica. Don’t want to think too much about that one …
“Crank.” Well, that applies some days. Like the days I drive on the Tollway or realize that I am not independently wealthy or the cat poops on my bed. Oops—that’s most days! I could describe myself as cranky last Sunday when I kicked the snake or the other day when I walked into a bed of rattlesnakes on my way to the taco joint in the gas station or my response to the ever-changing Dallas weather. That descriptor might apply, especially when presented with snakes.
But “Spanker.” I’ve never spanked anyone in my life. I don’t remember spanking anyone. I don’t believe in spanking. Can someone come forward if they have any knowledge to the contrary?
According to Wikipedia, a spanker is a type of sail on a sailboat. According to Urban Dictionary, a spanker is … someone into discipline or an out-of-control self-pleasurer or a dimwit or a perky woman under 35 years of age. Okay dokey, I was once under 35, and I guess I was perky when I was a teenager.
So not so bad when I look at the words one at a time. Together, it makes me sound like a bad-tempered dominatrix who will record the experience for eternity (words on the internet are timeless). This is not my internal world. And if it’s yours, well then, good for you but maybe not on a business card.
Wait a sec—the girl on the card was blindfolded. Could it be? I see more therapy in my future.
People, edit your work! Or cranky old me will have to spank you…