For the last couple of weeks we've been trying to finish editing an essay that will be included in book about food and philosophy. Having never worked with professional editors before it was an enlightening experience. Fritz and Dave were incredibly patient with us, especially under the circumstances. They kept sending the essay back because it was too colloquial and focused too much on descriptions of food. We were somewhat distracted by our personal circumstances and did not follow their instructions as well as we could have. I didn't listen well and that was my downfall.
The problem was that this is an academically minded tome. I am not necessarily an academically toned writer. So I re-wrote the essay a couple of times and each time there was definite improvement. There's something to be said for multiple drafts. They finally accepted the essay yesterday and I breathed a sigh of relief. Less than hour later I got an email. The publisher had strenuous objections to the style of writing and was not going to include it in the anthology. All of the other essays had been approved and they wanted to get the book to press. Fritz convinced the publisher to give me this weekend to give it one last shot.
It was a rude awakening to say the least. I've always considered myself a writer, it's something that I've done instinctively and usually received praise for. I was one of those kids who always turned in the first draft of all my papers and still got an A. I had countless journals that I either wrote in compulsively or ignored for months at a time. I'm one of those closet writers, who always wanted to do it professionally but never actually tried to do so or risked failure. So there I stood, my culinary life having recently been turned upside down and to add insult to injury, now I was being told that my writing was not up to par. I was not a happy camper. So I went back and re-read all of the initial critiques and re-wrote the essay. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
This time I followed the directions scrupulously. I sent a rough draft to Fritz to make sure I was on the right track. When he approved the direction I had taken, I continued writing. The essay was approved this morning and sent off with a haste that made me think that if I had taken the weekend we might not have made the cut. It's not perfect. I was hoping to polish it a bit more, but it is a hundred times better than the first draft we wrote.
Part of the problem was that we really didn't know what we were writing about in the first place. Philosophy can be a tricky thing. But I learned a lot about myself through this process and it helped us define our food in a way that we hadn't before. Part of the problem was that I just didn't pay close enough attention to what I was being told. That's the part that really ticked me off. I hate being stupid. Especially at a time when I need to have my game on. We made it in the book by the skin of our teeth. Even though they probably won't read this, I have to thank Fritz and Dave for believing that we could make it happen. Thank you!!! That's what made the difference. If they had given up on us we wouldn't be in the book. It's a timely reminder that it's not always about what you can do. Sometimes it's just about who believes you can do it, or at least thinks that you deserve the chance to try.