I really am the absolute worst for reading instructions (in our house they’re known as ‘destructions’). I do read them but often my efforts are more of a relaxed perusal of the instructions rather than dedicated attention.
For this reason, I am always the mother who sends the wrong portion of the fifty-eight page form back to the school. When I replace lawnmower blades it will probably take a couple of goes before they’re on the right way around and recently, it took me two goes to enter a writing competition.
Now here is where I’m going to defend myself…sort of.
People who write instructions should know that people like me exist. They should, therefore, make the instructions as simple and brief as they can possibly be. Instructions for entering a writing competition should not be longer than the actual piece of writing itself!
In my attempt to enter this most recent competition, I read the first set of instructions, perused the conditional instructions and then skipped onto the checklist of things to include with submission.
In return for my first submission I received a very helpful, informative email, telling me that I had failed to conform to requirement 1(c) in section D where it told me not to have my name on any part of three of the submitted pieces. Damn! I wrote back, thanking them for their kind assistance in remediating my ignorance and proceeded to get wound up in Christmas preparations.
This morning though, I sat with my documents open, the detailed submission instructions open and my printer at the ready. The entry has been sent, again and my fingers as well as my eyes are crossed.
So here’s the lesson people. It’s okay to ignore the instructions that come with your IKEA flat pack. It’s all right to put the Christmas train sets together so that trains collide or run of cliff edges. It is not, NOT okay to lose a competition before it has started. Read the instructions…all of them!