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Pleasing Our Readers

The other day, my son, the one I thought would NEVER show interest in anything I’ve written, told me how he’s read my manuscripts when I wasn’t looking. He complimented me on my skill as a writer and called me an intelligent woman. I stared at him, mouth agape, eyes ogling. My child had actually read my writing and felt impressed?

Writing can seem an intimidating pursuit sometimes, and though I struggle to stay positive in the climb up the ladder, I have to remind myself, people have read my words and often like them. I'm just about to publish my debut novel, and I've received several positive reviews from beta readers. Yet, the crazy thing about the process is that we never know who might read our work: a stickler for grammar, a reader out for entertainment, an English major dropout, or someone who got up on the wrong side of the bed. As we network, we pick up potential readers, and we might balk at how many people are really interested in our progress. Of course, we also push away a few who hate everything we say. That’s okay because we’ll never be able to please everybody all the time. Still, I obsess over spelling and punctuation; I cringe every time I go back to read my blog posts or novels and find some infraction of the English language or a thought that misses the point. Such infringements ruin our credibility as writers, right? The same son who read my manuscripts on the sly shakes his head and tells me not to worry so much, especially when writing a blog post. He assures me bloggers misspell words all the time. I don’t know how comforting that is. I want to at least appear as though I’ve used spell check and have edited my posts before I publish them—because according to my son, I am an intelligent woman. And I do want to present to all those who read my work the best I have to offer. After all, I am trying to build a reputation in the writing world. Still—I'm thrilled that Hemingway choked at spelling.

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