Your Most Embarrassing Moment As a Writer (Part 2)

If you enjoyed my embarrassing story from last week, here’s another one.

I was taking one of my very first trips to New York City, to meet with literary agents, in my early years as an acquisitions editor at F+W Media. One of the meetings involved dinner at an upscale Asian restaurant.

I’m a fairly punctual person, and in situations like these, I always plan to arrive early to ensure that I arrive on time.

So I got to the restaurant about 10 minutes early. It was crowded with people, so I sat down to wait for the agent to arrive.

Ten minutes passed. Still no agent. But no big deal. Another five minutes passed. Then ten. Then fifteen. I started to feel very strange. It dawned on me that maybe I missed her coming in, or that she had arrived before me.

Being from the Midwest, as well as rather young and provincial (and not yet a frequenter of fine dining establishments!), I didn’t realize it was customary to check with the maitre d’ to see if the other party had arrived, and/or to go ahead and be seated.

So you can probably guess: The agent was already seated and had been waiting for at least 15 minutes when I did ask the maitre d’.

The agent clearly wasn’t happy, but didn’t say a word. She just showed up 15 minutes late to our next dinner outing when I returned to New York the following season.

Why am I telling you ANOTHER embarrassing story?

Well, if you submitted your own embarrassing story to Writer’s Digest last week, it was lost in an e-mail crash. So I’m posting the call again this week to ask you to kindly resubmit for consideration.

If you missed the call, here it is again:

Let’s face it: We all make mistakes. But the best writers learn from them, rise above them and even find ways to transform them into happy accidents. What embarrassing moment have you overcome to become a better writer? Whether your story is funny, humbling or an important lesson learned the hard way, we want to hear from you.

Share your experience in 150 words or fewer and e-mail it—along with your name, city and state—to writersdigest@fwmedia.com with “Lessons Learned” in the subject line.

Your story could appear in a future issue of Writer’s Digest! (All submissions will be considered for publication and may be edited for clarity or space.)


Photo credit: yamuhaton

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3 thoughts on “Your Most Embarrassing Moment As a Writer (Part 2)

  1. Theresa Crater

    I’m at a writer’s conference very early in my process of exploring the professional world coming from academia, so you know how much I do not know! I’m at lunch with a group of writers and an agent. I ask the writer across from me what he writes. I can’t read his name tag. "Sort of space opera." The woman next to him nods. She’s the agent. Apparently she represents him. "Oh, but there aren’t that many science fiction writers in Colorado." They both laugh. This was Kevin Anderson sitting next to Jennifer Jackson. A few years later at WorldCon the host announced to the Hugo audience that Colorado doesn’t have many good science fiction writers–to uproarious laughter and my red face. Oh the things they don’t teach you in grad school!

  2. Rita Smith

    At my second writing conference, I scheduled an agent appointment. I wasn’t prepared, so I asked her what people usually do at these appointments. Fortunately, she answered all my questions. I don’t think I impressed her, but then again I didn’t even write the genres she represented.

  3. Marleen Gagnon

    My most embarrassing moment was a couple weeks ago at the Empire Book Festival. I introduced my self to the editor who had asked for my manuscript. I forgot the title of her blog and the title of my manuscript. Thankfully I remembered my name.

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