While working on an AWAI training module yesterday, I got the urge to look through old files for a specific article written while I attended college in the 80’s. The files weren’t on my computer. They were hidden deep within an old 2-drawer file cabinet I hadn’t opened in years.
Now I know this cabinet has all my mother’s genealogy research and some of my father’s work records and pilot logs. That’s a story for another time. Amazingly, I found what I was looking for after almost losing my focus reading one of dad’s logs.
Let me begin with a bit of background. My entire life had been filled with writing. I wrote for myself. Why? Because as a child I didn’t want anyone else, including my parents, to read what I wrote. Even when I went to college in my late 30’s, it scared me to death to turn in the journal my English 203 professor required.
Needing a job in my first semester, I responded to an ad for a typesetter. So for that semester, I worked typesetting articles, interview, and advertising. Right after Christmas break, the editor approached me with a surprising query: Would I like to write for the WCU Catamount? It turns out, he had asked my English professor if there was anyone in his class with a talent for writing about current events. The professor recommended me.
Never having been a person to step much outside my comfort zone, I hesitated. My editor told me this professor had said I was the best writer in the class. I fretted and fumed for two days before the editorial staff ganged up on me at the typesetting machine. It seemed they had dozens of candidates for the typesetting position, but only one “decent” writer on staff. Okay, so yes, they were trying to boost my confidence, or ego. Whatever. It worked. I decided to try my hand at it. To read the entire article, about four paragraphs across three columns, click here.
I have to say, the whole adventure changed my attitude toward my own writing, although I’ve never quite gotten over the difficulty in participating in peer reviews, critiques, or anything of that nature. The editorial process for my novel, “The Crystal Birch,” threw me into paroxysms of anxiety. It did make it to Amazon. However, I haven’t decided if I’m going to go through that again.
In a post to come, there will be a series going through breaking my fear of peer reviews. I’m about to submit my first copywriting spec assignment to AWAI. Please cross your fingers for me.