In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surviving a Less Than Perfect Moment In the Writing World Starring: Me!

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The story you are about to read is true.
No names have been changed to protect the, um, guilty because ... well, because I did it.
And I'm willing to share my moment of embarrassment with you, my fellow writers, because I know you won't hold it against me. And you won't laugh at me.
Way back in when I was a beginning writer, I attended a writers conference. My main goal was to pitch some magazine articles to Beth Jusino, who was then the editor of MomSense, the magazine for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) International.
Right before the opening session of the conference, I slipped into the women's bathroom. (FYI: The restrooms at The Broadmoor are impressive. I'm just saying.)
As I washed my hands--See, Mom, I listened!-- I said hello to the woman standing next to me. I glanced at her name tag and then, for some unknown reason, I broke the cardinal rule for any writer attending a writers conference.
Me (beginning to put my foot in my mouth): Oh! You're Beth Jusino! You edit MomSense! (Anytime you're talking with that many exclamation points--stop talking.)
Beth: Yes, I am. (Notice: No exclamation points.)
Me: I have an appointment with you tomorrow!
Beth: Great.
Me: Yeah, I've written some magazine articles ...
About then it hit me: I was pitching to an editor in the women's bathroom! Well, not really. But kind of. Almost. I hadn't pulled out any articles and backed her into a stall, but still ...
Me: Oh. My. Gosh. I can't believe I just did that. I am so sorry. (No, I didn't grovel. I wanted to maintain some semblance of professionalism.)
Beth: It's okay.

Truthfully, I don't remember our conversation word for word. I do remember the location. And I do remember the verbal faux pas. If you're wondering if I had enough courage to face Beth again during our 15 minute appointment, I did. And she even asked for (and published) an article.

Even better, Beth and I became friends. We were able to laugh about my mistake--and she often shares that story at writers conferences. (I'm not sure if she uses my name or not.) She encouraged me when I thought about writing a book about late-in-life motherhood and pitching it to MOPS.

In Your Words: Less than perfect moments happen in the writing world--and sometimes you're front and center in those moments. Handled with grace, a faux pas doesn't have to be the end of the world--or your writing career. Have you experienced any "I want a do-over" moments? How did you deal with them?

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At 1:33 PM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Beth. I certainly understand the excitement and enthusiasm (and nervousness?)that comes from having something to pitch and meeting someone you've wanted to meet. Okay, maybe not the "pitching" part, so much yet. I haven't made that faux pas, but I'm sure it's only because I lack opportunity at present. :) I'll try to remember your story and learn from it when I'm in the ladies room at a conference. (He-he)

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Just trying to help someone else avoid the mistakes I make . . . :O)

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Beth Jusino said...

Yes, this really did happen. And eight(ish) years later, I'm still laughing about it (and talking about it, but always anonymously).

I'm also pretty sure that you were the only writer I met at the Broadmoor that weekend and ended up publishing, so in the end, it wasn't a fatal error. (Another good lesson from the story: mistakes happen. Bounce back and keep going.)

Thanks for letting me be part of your publishing journey.


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