Starting Over -- Again
Recently I made some new business cards. I needed them because we moved last August to Arizona and I needed some cards with simply my editor/ writer information. Microsoft Publisher has a business card template which is simple — even for someone like me who has little graphic design skills. I entered the different fields of information, then tried different templates. Quickly the card changed and I selected one with a creative twist.
Driving to a nearby store, I turned in my card and a few days later I picked up my new business card. To me, it looked great and I’d even handed out a few of them. The other day I glanced down at the card and noticed they were printed with the wrong zip code. Immediately I turned to see if the store introduced the error. I’d love to blame someone else for this mistake but I couldn’t. I put in the wrong zip code and they printed what I submitted. Suddenly instead of having a new business card or an asset for my writing life, I had a box of 500 mistakes and felt terrible.
With chagrin, I admitted the error to my wife and she instantly responded, “When you showed me the cards, I didn’t say anything. But I didn’t like the design of that card.” Besides making the typographical error, I had missed a critical step in the production process—checking with someone else and getting some feedback. While not a writer, my wife has terrific taste and keen insight. For this particular job, I didn’t tap into her expertise but I put it together, selected a design and made it happen.
Suddenly I found a good reason for starting over—again. Besides getting a correct card, I would have an improved image. I began to be thankful only a few people saw the flawed card and design. This time I gathered her input about the overall look. My new business card has clean lines and a clear message. I double checked and triple checked the information to make sure it’s right. In a few days, I will have a new box of cards.
In my writing and editing life, I’m constantly starting over. I have a new relationship with an editor or a new magazine. I turn in one magazine article and begin another one. I finish a book manuscript and begin a new project. I’m grateful that even with an occasional mistake, I learn new insight.
As I think about starting over again, the weeping prophet of Israel, Jeremiah, came to mind. The short book of Lamentations contains a promise filled with hope, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23, RSV). It’s something to cling to and begin again.