I strive to be correct. Like all the time. I think that part of it is the fact that I just like to always be right. So that I could potentially lord it over you (just ask my poor, poor significant other). That and my job, in large part, for the past ten years or so has been a trade in information; to provide information on various policies, in various public settings, for various people which truly had to be the correct information. When that is your job, the information trade, you really strive to get it right. I think that I’ve done that. For the most part. Gotten it right.
Then, last week, a very public and more personal bit of writing hit the streets with a mistake which mostly horrified me. Obviously in ten years of work, I have made mistakes. The awful realization of the error washed over me and I felt an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The feeling that I have disappointed. That my work is subpar. That people would be angry. All of those feelings of self-doubt. I have to admit that I don’t like to feel them. And while, at my advanced age, I don’t feel them as often as in the past, they are truly unpleasant. They eat away at your confidence and wear holes in your well-being. I try to keep them at bay.
My ever loving editor offered me kind words, welcomed me to the world of writers and said that now I really was one of them. Like coming over to the dark side. After drowning my sorrow in a giant serving of nachos Friday evening and not thinking about it all weekend, I feel better. Today wonderful editor told me that she had only received two calls and they weren’t even angry calls. What have I learned from this? I am possibly not always as perfect as I think I am. That I need to be even more careful to check and recheck and recheck what I am writing about. That editors are awesome. That humble pie, although not delicious, is a necessary part of any well balanced diet.
And the mistake, well, it was here, in this article, but things can be fixed online, not so much in print. The worst part for me is that I really, really liked this piece and its message. You can compare if you’ve got the print edition, but part of me hopes you don’t.