When Things Go Wrong, Don't Go With Them: Learn From Your Mistakes.

When Things Go Wrong, Don't Go With Them: Learn From Your Mistakes.


"When things go wrong, don't go with them" Elvis

So, a few months ago I found myself a little bit lost in my story. It had taken a path that seemed to lead to nothing but boring. I battled through the tedium and carried on writing, but with every word that I wrote my grimace just got deeper. So I did what any self respecting person would do…I buried my head in the sand.

Wait...do I mean self respecting?!!


I stopped enjoying what I was doing so the writing slowly trickled to a halt. I pootled out the odd few ideas here and there, nothing major, just enough to stop me feeling guilty for possible abandonment. But I spent most of my time writing ignoring the voices in my head telling me that I needed to sort out the massive problem that was my hideously awful storyline before I could make any more progress. But the more I ignored it the harder it got to go back to. I was stumped.

Then, when I caught myself writing Gracey (my protagonist) into a predicament that would quite easily end up on one of those BuzzFeed "12 Stupid Things that Really Stupid People Do" articles that spread like wildfire on Facebook, I finally admitted defeat and lifted my hands off my keyboard. By this point Gracey had already disowned me and was busily trying to get herself rewritten in a book that might have a chance of eventually getting published.

I scrolled up the page and saw the moment it all went wrong glaring at me from around 27k words. So I highlighted and deleted the 8k I had written since. Ok, maybe I didn't quite delete it, I cmd+x cmd+v'd it onto a separate Word document, but it was finally gone from my book. It felt pretty good being able to hit delete and start again - if only this could apply to real life!!!

It did make me wonder, though, whether I should plan more to avoid this happening again. Or maybe making the mistakes is a way of finding the path my book and characters really want to take.

In reality, a life without mistakes doesn't exist. 

It's one of the ways we learn and it makes us who we are. But I'm not sure this can happen when writing a book, there are too many variables and too much opportunity and surely the character's mistakes are planned? I don't know.

What I do know, is that I will learn from this. I will learn that it's okay to go wrong. That it's okay to admit defeat. Because admitting defeat doesn't mean you have to give up altogether. It means take a step back, look at what went wrong and use that to learn for the next go.

If I find myself going somewhere I don't really want to be I will have the courage to nip it in the bud sooner. This way I won't waste my time on something that I'm just going to end up cmd+xing…

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