Image for “It’s OK to ask for help”, Finding Your Bliss

Several weeks ago, a project landed on my desk, and I was pleasantly surprised and quite excited to get started with it, as it involved a style of writing outside my usual scope. I had never written for this particular audience before, nor had I attempted this style of writing. Nevertheless, I accepted the challenge and got down to work. “How hard can it be?” I thought to myself. “I’m a writer – so I can write anything, right?”

During the week that I received the project, everyone was out of the house. My children are grown and have lives of their own, and my husband was away on business. I thought, “This is great – I have the house to myself, and I can write any time of day and anywhere in the house I please.” I felt as free as a bird, spreading my wings.

I cleared my schedule, filled up my fridge with food, and didn’t make any plans. It was going to be me and my laptop venturing into a new world, which made me blissfully happy – as I wrote about all that good stuff here.

I sat down to work, and surprisingly, it didn’t take me long at all to write – just about a day or two. With a bright smile, I raised my hand in the air and elegantly brought it down to my keyboard to click “send,” as if I were shooting a slam dunk into a basketball net. “Woo wee, I’m good!” I said to myself.

Several hours later, as I was toasting a glass of wine to myself, the feedback came in.

I put down my wine glass and swallowed hard. According to the person I was reporting to, the piece wasn’t so good, and suddenly, I didn’t feel so good.

“This is not what we talked about. You don’t understand. Look at the outline I gave you. Your sentences don’t make sense.”

Usually, when I receive constructive criticism, I brew a pot of coffee, open my laptop, keep my head down, and start again. Until I get it right.

So that’s what I did.

Days passed, and I think in total, I “rinsed and repeated” 12 times, and I have the drafts in my “Freelance Writing Work” file to prove it.

I began to talk to myself to regain focus, but it wasn’t working, and my team, to whom I was reporting, knew it and asked, “Can you get someone to help you?”

Help me?

I felt like a chef who burnt a piece of toast – a complete failure. I was shocked, embarrassed, appalled, ashamed. “Why should I need help writing something? Aren’t I a writer? Shouldn’t I be able to do it?”

My husband returned from his trip and found me on our kitchen floor with an overflowing spoon of ice cream in one hand and a chunk of chocolate babka in the other. After I explained the situation, he bluntly asked, “Why would I take out an appendix?” I crinkled my eyebrows in confusion.

“I am a family doctor – not a surgeon, so if my patient had appendicitis, I would refer him to a surgeon.”

As I took another bite of babka, I thought about it and let him continue. “Yes, you are a writer, but who says you have to be an expert at all forms of writing?”

He was right.

Off I went to pick up my phone to call someone who could help me. I sent her what I was working on, and with her expertise, she crafted the perfect piece to submit. It was a team effort that taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget.

And my goodness, I was blissfully happy.

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