No matter how old we get, there are still times we make mistakes and often punish ourselves for making them.
However, if we really want to be better, we need to start embracing those mistakes rather than seeing them as a type of failure.
I think there is a part of all of us that loves the idea of holding ourselves accountable to mistakes me make. But that’s not always the case, is it?
So, why don’t we embrace our mistakes?
Maybe you blame schools… or parents… or bosses! Because they are easy to blame. Though maybe the real culprit is society.
Society is like some frizzy-haired banshee screaming “OMG, don’t make a mistake!!”
Mistakes are considered to be failures. We’ve done something wrong. We’ve FAILED to do something right. We are labelled as stupid. We are punished. We are fired.
We are lampooned for our failures, so we learn at an early age to hide them, to deflect them, to sob our hearts out about all the ways we are suffering this mistake that “wasn’t our fault.”
Is this a bad thing?
Yes! Because eventually we take those reactions and we used them as a crutch. You are going to make mistakes. Period.
Mistakes are important.
Mistakes are necessary.
Mistakes are how we learn.
We might start out with mistakenly touching the flame on our birthday candle when we’re 4 (and hopefully never doing THAT again… see, learning!) and eventually make mistakes with how we respond to someone, how we apply for a job or what about, how we edit or market our book?
Ahhh, so this IS about writers?
Well, it can be. Everyone makes mistakes, including writers.
If you want to be a writer you are going to make mistakes and you are going to have to live with that fact and embrace it.
Maybe your mistake will be that you’ll not define your target audience and end up with the wrong people reviewing your book. Maybe you’ll not back up your work (please, in the name of all that is chocolatey, don’t make this mistake if you can help it!).
Maybe you’ll publish without getting your work checked by a professional editor. Maybe you’ll spend money on advertising but forget the important links…
There are 1,001 ways to mess up as a writer. (What fun!) But we need to own those screw-ups. We need to say “Shit, yep, I did that. My bad.”
This isn’t for some “OMG what a humble person they are admitting their faults” moment. It’s about learning.
For example, maybe you throw your novel together and put it out for publishing without doing more than 1 edit quick. The book struggles to sell and maybe gets bad reviews.
Are you going to complain about those reviews?
Well maybe, but do it quietly to yourself…not a social media…PLEASE and don’t lash out at the reviewers, that’s a big no-no.
Or are you going to admit that you rushed it, and didn’t take the time it needed?
Which one of those approaches will do better for you in the long run?
Which one of those approaches will make you a better writer?
We learn every time we mess up. We improve when we take what we learned and do better the next time.
Do you want to be a great writer?
Accept your mistakes, admit them and then do better next time. Learn from them, adapt and try again. Simple.
Do you embrace your mistakes?
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Feeling shy? Don’t know what to say? Here’s an ice-breaker question for you to answer in a comment: If you could redesign the sun, what colour would you make it?