A to Z Challenge 2013

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blog Chain - Mistakes


This blog post brought to you by the number 4 and the letter "R".

Oh wait. Actually this blog post is brought to you care of Rebecca, who asks:

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

Wow, where do I begin? There have been so many mistakes I've made in this journey so far, sometimes they feel like they outweigh the successes. There's the whole "trying to do NaNo at the same time I'm trying to pass my last class in college". Yeah, that was a big mistake.

Then there's the "pay attention to what you choose to post here, because duh stupid, it's considered published." Yeah, that was a dumb mistake too.

Probably the best mistake I've ever made involved arrogance. When I first began this writing journey a year ago, I figured I could just plunge in and start writing. People had been telling me forever I could write, right? They must know what they're talking about. Oh, and I guess the fact that they are family and friends doesn't mean they're being less than objective, huh?

I figured out how much a mistake this was once I had someone with real talent critique my work. The big hammer came slamming down, and I realized just how much I have to learn. This was a hard lesson to learn too, because it was a huge blow to the ego. But it taught me something I should already be familiar with - humility. It's okay to believe in yourself, as long as you remain realistic.

I truly believe this mistake has given me the opportunity to become a better writer and not embarrass myself by querying something that is really not ready. It also prompted me to take some classes, so that I CAN become a better writer. I'm learning that altering the way I thought I should write is not necessarily a bad thing. It's not set in stone, and changing my ways doesn't mean I need to sacrifice my story - or my writer's voice.

This is a great question because it highlights something we should all know and accept. Mistakes are a good thing; they challenge us, put our feet to the figurative flames. And hopefully after we rub the pain from the burns, we can stand up once more and begin walking in a new and better direction.

Now head on over to Sandra (who preceded me) or put a note on your calendar for tomorrow so you can read Kat's response. Which may or may not be brought to you by the number 4 and letter "R".

16 comments:

Michelle H. said...

Another great post. Learning, and growing, from our mistakes is what it takes to be a great writer. I'm hoping to learn all I can by this process.

Michelle McLean said...

Ahhh yeah, that first critique stings a bit. I remember mine well. I also remember how shocked I was to get my first rejection. I really thought I'd sell that puppy instantly LOL

Mandy said...

Great post! I've learned the humility lesson too! Ouch. It's a toughy. But those mistakes make us better writers and you have every right to toot your horn a little now! :D

Sandra said...

Critiques can be quite humbling! That's why it's very important to be careful about how you phrase your critiques. You have to be honest about what needs to be improved yet not upset the other person to the point where he/she won't listen to what you're saying.

Cole Gibsen said...

I couldn't agree more!

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post. I totally remember the day I realized just how little I knew about this field - HOW LITTLE! Great post Eric.

Sophie Playle said...

"People had been telling me forever I could write, right? They must know what they're talking about."

My Mum keeps telling me that I should 'Write the next Harry Potter' because I've 'got an imagination'. If only it were that simple...

Eric said...

Thank you everyone for stopping by. This was a fun question to answer, even though it meant admitting my mistakes. But as you all have mentioned, these experiences aren't necessarily bad.

Kat Harris said...

Everyone knows how bad it is when you hit your thumb with a hammer. But when that hammer comes down on the ego...OUCH.

Great post Eric!

jjdebenedictis said...

There are some mistakes you have to make before you realize they are mistakes.

Those are often the biggest, hardest, most painful and worthwhile lessons, however.

Elana Johnson said...

There's always so much to learn, no matter where you are in life. I'm learning new things every day. That's the beauty of LIVING.

So keep learning from your mistakes! You're gonna be great!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Gosh, there are so many. The one I learned most from wasn't so much a mistake, as it was a reality check. I got a critque that suggested, while I had talent, I also had some problems...and how to fix them. That was both humbling and helpful. I paid money for that advice, and it was the best 100 bucks I've spent.

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

cassandrajade said...

Mistakes are great. If you do something and you do it with no major mistakes you accomplish it, but you don't really learn anything. It is only by trying and stuffing it up and having it explained to you that you begin to learn something.
Thanks for a great post and thanks for making us think.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

The first time someone really lays out the flaws of your novel can be tough. Who am I kidding? It's tough every time. But you've got a really great attitude about it.

B.J. Anderson said...

Writing is the BIGGEST lesson in humility! It totally sucks sometimes. This was a great post and I'm glad I'm not the only one who has made these mistakes. :D

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow, learning how to balance ego and humility is a big lesson - and I think it's a balance that we have to constantly work at keeping.