Respect for the Work
This week, I listened to the universe. I got myself unstuck, with a little help from my friend. (Thanks, Joni!) And by golly, I finished the proposal I've been dying to write for quite some time now.
My natural inclination was to throw together an e-mail to my agent, attach the file, and hit send so I could get it to her before the weekend.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, blared the warning claxons in my brain. Because I'm well aware that what looks great to me one minute will soon reveal itself to me to be riddled with typos, awkward sentences, and wordy passages. The trouble is, in the heated glow of my initial enthusiasm, I'll be unable to see any of it.
So out of respect for the work, myself, and my agent's time (everybody deserves a weekend) I held off and read, then reread some more. Afterwards, I called and begged two of my critique partners if they could manage to read as well, and both were kind enough to agree to look it over.
Both are also whip-smart writers with the editorial savvy to help me take these chapters to a higher level. I'd be an idiot if I didn't take advantage of their expertise before sending anything important to me out the door.
And the writing is always important, as it should be. If I ever get to the point where I'm phoning it in, where I'm thinking "well, I've worked more than hard enough for what I'm getting paid," or where I'm counting on an editor or agent to make the work presentable for me, I'll know it's time to hang up my keyboard.
Because the quality of the work is the one part of this business I control.
So what about the rest of you? Do you have any tips that help you with quality control?