Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Not to Do Wednesday Re: Asking Advice from Family (Hint: Don't)

Really, I don't like to pick on Mr. Hall. He is, after all, usually the beneficent Mr. Hall. But there are times when he is not so beneficent. And since this is Wednesday, I feel duty-bound to expose the un-beneficence of Mr. Hall as a classic "What Not To Do" on the Road to Publication.

Which is the long way of saying that one shouldn't ask one's family members to read one's scathingly brilliant work. It can never go well. Never.

Take my latest column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution as Exhibit A (which you can read here if you search Cathy C. Hall). Even though I KNOW better, I asked Mr. Hall to take a quick look at it before I sent it off.

Naturally, Mr. Hall found something wrong. I suppose the defense could argue that Mr.Hall very generously (thus proving his beneficence) threw out a few "constructive" criticisms in my direction. But, and here's my point about asking family to check your work, these "proofreading discussions" can get quite out-of-hand. Before you can say "Judge Judy" the proofreading is out the window altogether and the discussion has degenerated into what a certain brother-in-law said at the last family gathering about a certain someone's over-cooked chicken.

So, little grasshopper, if you want to stay on speaking terms with your beloved, do not ask for his opinion about what you have written. It never goes well. Never. (I rest my case.)