So, what do you do when something goes wrong?

I’ve been feeling icky. Some little low-level bug won’t go away and any energy I find quickly drains away. I’ve been able to keep going, but just not feeling well. One of the things that kept me moving was knowing that one of my guest posts was going to be published on a well-read blog last Friday.

So Friday comes. I checked the blog when I got up. Nothing, but not surprising. It was 7am.

I checked back after 9am and…my post wasn’t there. Not only was it not there, a different post was published.

Well, damn.

What to do?

I got into my day and took care of several other small tasks before turning back to the issue. I decided to email the editor. This Friday had not been the original publication date, so maybe I’d been pushed back to the original date and she’d never told me.

I sent a quick, precise, and friendly email inquiring.
And it got bounced back. No address exists.

What?

OMG.

I went to the website and found the name of the new person handling the editorial work. I forwarded my email and asked the same question.

Of course, the woman was lovely and professional. Apparently, the last editor had left abruptly, leaving no trace behind. Yep. She phrased it in a very professional way but you could tell this was one of those “burn it all down” moments in the previous editor’s life.

She asked me to send my draft, photo, and bio, and promised to publish the piece next week.

I was thinking about how, even a year ago, I might not have reached out. I might have just assumed I was rejected. Intensely embarrassed, I probably would never have spoken to anyone about it again.

But I didn’t. I inquired and discovered that my contact information, along with my draft and all accompanying material, had been burned in the previous editor’s departure. And because I inquired, my piece is back in the queue.

fear monster

The Fear Monster stands in our way all the time. Whether it’s fear of pursuing the sale, fear of inquiring about an invoice payment, fear of asking for what was promised—as artists and business owners, we make up scary stories about people ignoring us, clients not wanting to pay, gatekeepers rejecting our work.

So, here’s the trick: any time these moments show up, walk into them head-on. Don’t let the Fear Monster make up a story. Just write the email, make the phone call, keep the appointment before he gets a chance to play with your imagination.

Calmly, clearly, kindly connect with your person:

“I bet this invoice got buried in your inbox. Here’s another copy.”
“I created this new product and thought of you. Want to discuss?”
“My piece was scheduled for today, and I see another piece was published instead. What’s up?”

And do you know the reply you get from most interactions?

“OMG! So sorry. Here’s the payment.”
“Tell me more.”
“We lost your contact information. Thank goodness you reached out! We want to publish your piece on another day.”

Follow up quickly, clearly, and with confidence.

And avoid letting the Fear Monster make up any stories!

(He’s such a bad writer!)