Hi guys. It’s Blog Chain Time again. But first, a little housekeeping business…

I am pulling back on blogging for the rest of the month, limiting posts to two or three times a week.  Life has thrown me a series of intense curve balls of late…in all aspects of my life. So, it’s time to step back and renew…just for a moment.  

But for now…the blog topic.  This one was started by the fabulous Rebecca, who asked:

What is the best mistake you’ve made so far in your journey as a writer? How has that mistake helped you grow :)?

I love this question because I think we only grow in times of chaos – in moments riddled with missteps. As many of you know, I played the viola for more than twenty years. My orchestra leaders always said, if you’re going to play the wrong notes – make a mistake – do it with everything you got!

I just love that…For me, it speaks to living each moment of life fully committed to the moment – even if it’s dead wrong.

With that, I’ll tell you of my mistakes. 

Now, I never see my mistakes as mistakes in the moment they occur. I am too busy trying to live a life committed to the moment.  I only recognize my mistakes AFTER they occur, when I reflect on the outcome of my decisions.  Sometimes this is something that takes mere seconds after the “mistake” occurs, and sometimes this is something I don’t come to see for weeks, months, or even years.

It was during on such reflection on my writing career, that I realized I had made a HUGE mistake…I sent my ms our LONG before it was ready.

In all fairness, I did not think this was true originally. The fact is, I was far too green to appropriately judge my work, really understand what it needed to be “ready”, etc.  Furthermore, since I was so green, I did not “get” the whole Beta-reader thing. I did have a half-way decent query.  And I did manage to get some requests.

But as the rejections poured in…and time marched on…and I wrote something else…and I learned what a good story is and is not, I was able to accurately reflect on my first novel (heck, my first few novels) and know they needed to be shelved.

Now, I am not saying I know what a good story is now…I think that is something that is subjective. Something that changes as we authors grow and evolve our craft.  But I am saying that my ability to discern has changed dramatically.

And perhaps that is the point of mistakes.  They force us to learn to discern our realities more clearly. To evolve.

Check out what Kat had to say on the subject yesterday, and what Sarah has to say tomorrow.


12 thoughts on “BLOG CHAIN: Making Mistakes…

  1. I think we’ve all made that mistake, at least once. It’s something I always struggle with, wanting to send something out before it’s done. I’ve gotten better at holding back, but man, it’s tough sometimes! 🙂

  2. Ditto. We just get so darn excited about what we’ve written the hormones seem to push us into sending off something totally unevolved. It’s like the excitement of dating someone new and all common sense disappears.

  3. I’m sorry to hear you are going to be backing off for a bit, since I always enjoy your blog. But you gotta take care of you, so I’ll just hope everything works out better for you in the end.

    As for your response, this is awesome. You are so right that our mistakes force us to evolve. Without them, we’d keep hitting our fingers with the hammer, never realizing that pain is there to tell us we need to change. Nice job.

  4. Ooh, I love the thought that our mistakes force us to re-examine our reality. You know I’m using that in a novel or something, right? I’ll give you credit. But it might be the theme! Yay for your mistakes, girl!

  5. I absolutely made that same mistake. I actually began sending out my queries before I’d finished revisions. I figured it’d take weeks to get a reply. Imagine how shocked I was when I got a ms request within hours. I don’t think I got up from my computer for 12 hours.

  6. Yup, sounds like this is a common step in the journey. At the same time, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, then we don’t have opportunity to grow and learn from them. At this point (cuz I think I’m getting somewhere and not just treading water), I can see just how valuable my mistakes have been. So, I can say I wouldn’t trade them in for the world.

    Great post! 🙂

  7. When I was in film school I remember a classmate saying how everyone’s first screenplay sucks and ends up being shelved. At the time I remember thinking, “Not mine.” Ha ha ha. Well, as it turns out my first screenplay was a laughable muddled mess, but writing that mess and eventually recognizing it as the mess that it was – did let me evolve.

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