M’kay, y’all ready? I get to start of the blog chain this time. *cracks knuckles*
My question: Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?
This question was inspired by a Yahoo article I came across a couple weeks ago, title Five Mistakes Everyone Should Make. (FYI: I’m not a big follower of news and Yahoo articles as such, but the caption totally piqued my curiosity.) The five mistakes are:
- Totally embarrass yourself–done, done, and DONE! (This will be an ongoing adventure for me, let me tell you!)
- Ruffle people’s feathers–in other words, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion (though I’d recommend finding the most tactful way possible of doing that, just sayin’).
- Follow trends blindly–um, yeah, so I’m gonna confess I’m not so much into this one…
- Be willing to fail–doing something you love–ding, ding, ding! We have a winner here, folks!
- Carelessly put yourself at risk–again, not something I’d ascribe to wholeheartedly, but you do have to take some risks to break outside your comfort zone, no?
Alrighty, so, getting back to number 4. When I read this, I totally thought about my writerly life. I never expected the journey to have the extreme highs and lows that it does. I never expected to take it this far. I never expected to spend like 99.9% of my free time writing or obsessing about writing. I never expected to meet such wonderful, supportive, knowledgeable, and smart people–who have experienced THE SAME HIGHS AND LOWS AS ME! (It is comforting to feel understood, am I right?)
The idea of willingness to fail at something you love is a tough one to swallow. I wanna be successful. I wanna make millions (*snort* I can’t believe I just said that, cuz $ isn’t a high priority to me, at least consciously, but still, who doesn’t dream of making it big?). More importantly, I want to be proud of completing something that is wholly creative and respected. I wanna hold my book(s) in my hands. I want to share them with the world.
I’m not saying anything y’all haven’t thought, right?
It’s becoming strikingly clear to me that in order to do this, I need to fall down flat on my face–several times, in fact–and learn from what I’ve done wrong. It’s the mistakes in life that help us figure out how to improve ourselves. Flubbing something up makes us stop, stare at it, and find a better solution.
There’s another aspect of this idea. I put a TON of pressure on myself to be successful, perfect, and fantabulous. Problem is, that pressure comes from a fear of failure. It’s only when I let go of that fear and become willing to fail and make mistakes (for the sake of learning and improving myself) that I can face my work with a sense of freedom and enjoyment.
And that, my friends, is the answer to my best writerly mistake–being willing to fail at something I love.
I’m working on this mistake with every revision, with every new project, with every opportunity to critique/beta someone’s work.
I pick myself up by the proverbial bootstraps every time I fail. Every. Time.
My work gets stronger. I take feedback better. I grow. I learn.
I accept failure as means to success.
What say you, dear friends? How do you approach mistakes?
Check out the insightful Michelle H’s post tomorrow for her answer!