Okay, guys. NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of hours and, as you all know, your mission at midnight will be to write 1667 words a day. You know you’re not allowed to use the backspace key on your computer and you’re not allowed to second guess yourself.
That’s right; you are allowed to AND encouraged to make mistakes.
Some people ask, “What’s the point of writing a book that’s filled with mistakes? Why not just do it right the first time?”
These people are cowards.
Cowardly, cowardly cowards.
No seriously—some people are actually afraid to make a mistake. Afraid to allow themselves to fuck up. WLe to tehm I say, “Wat aher yo afraid of now ?
There, I made a mistake. Several, actually. Nothing bad happened. My readers have no less respect for me. My brain is still reasonably as strong as it ever was.
Mistakes are nothing to be feared. If everyone was as scared of failure as those who let it hold them back, we’d never have mapped out the world. The United States certainly wouldn’t exist. Nobody would have gone into space. And that’s to say nothing of the achievements in the artistic world.
So who’s gonna let fear hold them back? Not I. Because here’s the thing about mistakes—They can be fixed. That’s right, almost every mistake you can make can be repaired. This is especially true when it comes to art. And get this—even the greats have to fix their mistakes. They don’t always fix them before they’re published, either. Don’t believe me? Check this out:
That’s Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Story—a story with near universal recognition. And that’s him fixing his fuck up. That’s right, Dickens fucked up. A name in English literature second only to Shakespeare and he’s not only had to fix his mistakes—he did it AFTER he published the works.
So what’s your excuse? Do you think you’re better than Dickens and can write a perfect draft in one go? Or do you wanna grow some balls and get messy?
Do you think if you don’t do it perfect, you’re a failure? You know who was a failure for several years? J.K. Rowling. But after years of trying, revising, and FIXING mistakes, J.K.’s ROWLING DEEP (in money). Here’s my challenge to you—in NaNoWriMo, in your regular writing, just in your life in general.
Make a mistake.
Do something stupid, do it on purpose. And let it sit. You can fix it later.
Why? Because it’s an excercize in realizing you’re not perfect and you’re not expected to be. And more than that, it’s to give you some control. Control over your fuck-ups. It’s your CHOICE to make mistakes now, and it’s your choice if, when, and HOW you want to fix them.
Because they can be fixed. And to prove it, I ask the question again:
“What are you afraid of now?”
(There, I fixed it!)
So start that project. If you’re writing and you’re troubled as to where you should start – head on over to my Writing Tips page and have a look at my article on five great ways to start a story. If you don’t even have an idea yet, don’t worry. Start writing and it’ll come. Remember, you can fix it later.
And if you are in NaNoWriMo, head on over to my page and friend me, dammit!