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Do You Feel Guilty If You Ask For Help?

Hard as it is to admit, we all need a little help at times. We depend on doctors, lawyers, accountants, and even professional tree trimmers. Let’s face it—life is hard enough without trying to do everything ourselves.

For writers, making submissions is a tedious, thankless process, one that many writers simply don’t have the time to face. And they’re not alone.

Many well-known authors ran the submission gauntlet, ending up rejected and frustrated. CS Lewis sent more than 800 manuscripts before he made a sale; Ray Bradbury, also around 800. Alex Haley received 200 rejection letters before reaching success with Roots. Robert Persig’s classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, couldn’t get started at 121 publishing houses. And e.e. cummings dedicated The Enormous Room, which he self-published, to the publishers who had rejected it.

Other famous authors who chose the self-publishing route—James Joyce, Beatrix Potter, Anaïs Nin, Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair (to name but a few)—probably did so out of sheer frustration with the submission process!

It’s a well-known fact that Ernest Hemingway completely ignored the rules of punctuation, and spelling just wasn’t his thing. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a notoriously bad speller as well, and in a letter of recommendation to his editor, he repeatedly referred to the as yet unknown Hemingway as “Hemmingway.” W.B. Yeats and Hans Christian Anderson had the additional burden of dyslexia to contend with. And yet they were all gifted authors.

English spelling appears to be an illogical, often random affair, and there are plenty of confusing exceptions for every rule.

One study from Stanford found that more than 300 rules would be required to correctly spell half of our 17,000 most frequently used words! The English language is filled with such land mines as silent consonants (talk, yolk), double letters (vacuum, sapphire), plus a host of everyday words we’ve stolen from other languages (bureau, ballet, mayonnaise, omelets).

Then there are the purely unthinkable combinations that we pass off as words—choir, diphtheria, gherkin, pneumonia—and it’s a wunder that anyone can spell anything correctly at all.

At Writer’s Relief, our proofreaders do more than check for misspellings. We catch punctuation and grammatical errors that often slip past unnoticed. We flag problems with subject/verb agreement, dangling participles, and formatting errors; we double-check song lyrics, brand names, and quotes; if your character magically transforms from an earl to a lord, our proofers will catch it. We’re hunters, tracking inconsistencies in plot, as well as those pesky little homophones that trip everyone up at times.

Writer’s Relief clients are intelligent, capable, and dedicated to their craft. We’re here to offer a bit of moral support, a fresh set of eyes, and years of experience navigating the treacherous waters of submission. So, let us know if you could use a helping hand. We don’t want your dreams to be nipped in the butt.

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