A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog Chain - Surely I'm Mistake-n

Before I get to the blog chain question, I need to tell you about the contest you better not miss out on.  The incredibly talented Alex Cavanaugh's book CassaStar is being given away in what has to be the awesomest-named (yeah, not a word but too bad) contest ever.  It's called The CassaStar "Pew Pew" Space Adventure Giveaway.  How cool is that name?  It's being hosted on the Scribbler To Scribe site, and you only have until the 19th to get in on it.

It's CassaStar, for crying out loud.  And Alex is going to sign it!  Does it get any better than that?  Get over there and enter right now.  I'll wait.

Okay, now that you're all signed up for the contest, I can proceed with answering the question posed by the ever-awesome Laura Diamond (yeah, how cool to have THAT last name):

Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?

I didn't have to think long and hard to answer this question, because the answer stares me in the face every day, reminding me what NOT to do.  When I first started this journey as a writer, I had a great story idea about a homeless woman and a guy that decides to help her.  My wife, my parents, and my friends were always telling me I should write something, and so that's what I did.  I sat down and started cranking out the pages.  Man, I was a writing whiz and the words were flowing effortlessly.  Okay, maybe not that easily, but I was making alot of progress and wrote almost the entire first draft.

I was flying high.  I'd written more words on this one project than I'd ever done before.   And all these people were saying how great a writer I would be.  So when a real writer friend offered to beta the story and give me some feedback, I was like, "Sure thing!"

What I got back was a body slam.  A wakeup call that said, "Hey stupid, you've forgotten all kinds of things that should really be basic to a story."

My mistake could be summed up in one word - Ego.

I thought I was a great writer prior to that point, and instead I learned quickly just how much I don't know.  I call it my best mistake because it altered how I view my writing, and how eager I am to learn how to write better.   After picking my bruised ego back up off the floor (and after a few days of self-reflection), I realized that while I do know how to write, I don't know it all and I have lots of room for improvement.  And this isn't a bad thing.  

Remembering how it felt to get slammed keeps me focused on writing well.  This mistake also reminds me to be open to learning new and better ways to improve my craft.  This is also a good thing.

If you haven't popped by my predecessor Sandra's blog, you need to check out her awesome answer (and the great song/video choice).  And tomorrow, expect to see an even better response from the talented Michelle McLean.

As for all of you, what is your greatest mistake as a writer?


Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Crits can be tough to deal with, even if they're given constructively. Sometimes you just have to sit there a while and absorb them before you can move forward. Kudos to you for resolving to learn more about writing!

nomadshan said...

It's great that your friend could give you objective, constructive feedback. Even better that you survived it with a positive attitude!

Mesmerix said...

Happens to all of us, all the time. I don't think I'll ever stop learning how to write. Just stick with it!

And thanks for the contest shout out. I'm hoping to drum up some more participation for Alex, so any links are appreciated!

Scribbler to Scribe

Michelle H. said...

It's only beneficial to receive honest and constructive feedback from a crit. The fact you didn't give up, realized your mistakes, and learned how to improve shows how much you will succeed in becoming a great writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for the plug on Scribbler to Scribe's contest - and my book!

Biggest mistake? Waiting so long to actually write a book!

Anonymous said...

Wow, totally feelin' ya, man! I mean, really, ya have to have some sense of grandiosity to have the courage to write a novel, right? But the work that goes into making it good can be daunting, to say the least.

I'm glad you stuck with it! Super cool! :D

Sarah Bromley said...

Golden word syndrome. I think too many writers suffer from it, but the ones who succeed are the ones who realize that one's writing ability is constantly changing and improving--often with the help of others by way of crits and commentaries. Nice post, Eric!

Cole Gibsen said...

That's awesome that your friend was honest with you! My early readers were friend and family who only fed my ego so when I queried I was in for a real shock.

Christine Fonseca said...

Eric, I love the honesty in this post. That was such a great reminder and like COLE said, it took guts for your friend to be so honest...that was awesome too

Robyn Campbell said...

Hmm, you're lucky that your friend was so honest, Eric. Aren't you glad you had him to remind you of some stuff?

Critters are VITAL to a writers life. Super great post.

My greatest mistake? Sending out my picture books without an agent. Now that my novel is finished I know I need an agent. :)

Eric said...

Oops, I read all the comments but never got around to replying. Thanks everyone for stopping by. I do appreciate all the input, even if I do get lazy and forget to reply myself :)