I received my first bad Amazon review on one of my books: "Farmwives in Profile" this week. Well, the review was left in March, but I didn't come across it until this week (October). It wasn't "bad" technically (it was 3 stars out of 5), but some of the words still affected me negatively:
"I grew up on a farm and know how hard my mother and all the surrounding farm wives worked - dawn to dusk, twenty-four seven! I enjoyed this book very much for giving a voice to these women. However, I found the NUMEROUS typo's and incorrectly spelled words were very distracting!"
It bothered me not because of the incorrect usage of an apostrophe in "typo's" ;) rather, because my "Farmwives Book Project" was an absolute labour of love for me. (Yes, I spell "labour" with a "u" because I'm Canadian). But, I digress.
My first book was on a tight deadline... not because of publisher deadlines, but because many of the women I was honouring and celebrating were in their 90s. It was so very important to me that these women see their books (and their stories) in print. After all, like at least two of them said to me: "why on earth would you want to put me in your book? I am just a farmwife". So, because of this deadline and because editors come with a price tag, I did the very best of my own editing along with a close, trusted friend. A mistake? Maybe, but one I don't regret. Seeing the look of pride (and often tears) on the faces of these women made it all worth it.
That and receiving the touching emails and letters written with heartfelt messages from people and families touched by this project and these women's stories made it ALL worth it. I always say that the gifts I received writing these books were meant more to me than anything.
Why am I telling you this? Is it because I feel I have to refute one seemingly insignificant Amazon review? Gosh no... I am telling you this because maybe something someone said or wrote to you recently affected you negatively for a moment (or more) too.
And because I want you to know that things can be "imperfect and beautiful." I'm taking a course right now by someone who's been a mentor to me Alex Franzen. In our course check-in meeting today they talked about when writing a tiny book in 45 days (yes, yes I am - more on that sooooon!), you sometimes have to have a "good enough" list. Sometimes, you have to let go of perfectionism and realize that something is "good enough."
Have I let writing from me go out into the world with a typo (or 20) in it? Yes. Have I let work out into the world with grammar errors? Yes, I've done that too. But, you know what? Almost all of the work I've let go of has my heart in it.
If you've been struggling with something in your life that has you seeking perfection or approval, just know that sometimes things are imperfect and beautiful and that is exactly how they're meant to be.
PS. I did run this blog post through Grammarly before posting, and I scored a 95.
PSSS. If you're still here - you're awesome & you get the news first. I have a new book coming out next month! YES! It's going to be so, SO fun! You'll hear first if you're subscribed.
Until next time,
Billi J. Miller is an author, photographer and speaker from Alberta, Canada who is known for telling stories from the heart & telling stories that matter with her work. Billi J Miller is an author, photographer, speaker and writer from east-central Alberta, Canada. Previously a city-living, 9-5 Government worker, Billi moved to the country to marry the man of her dreams in 2010, and traded concrete and traffic for life on a 100-year old prairie farm.
When Billi married her husband, a 4th generation Canadian farmer, she noticed there were very little photographs of their rich, 100-year farming heritage. As a photographer she felt called to do something about it. Harnessing her entrepreneurial spirit, she created a successful business as a photographer and writer. In 2016, she authored the first of a two-book series about the remarkable contributions of farmwives and has since been recognized on CBC, Global TV, City TV, as well as countless newspapers and magazines both in Canada and in the US.
To find out more, or to book her to speak at your event, visit here.