Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rule 1

     Rule number one: Write a mistake first.

     This may not be news to you. You may be sitting there going, "Well, DUH!" Or you may be stuck trying to discern what exactly I mean by such an odd statement.

     One of the greatest pillars of success is the ability, and even the willingness to make mistakes. I only know because someone told me. I'm terrified of making mistakes, what's worse, making them publicly. But that's the only way to go.

     This is somewhat related to what I was saying last week in "Plowing Through." To do anything well, you're probably going to have to do it badly first. Unless you're Perseus or Anakin Skywalker or something. Just so long as your mistakes are in an upward trend, you're making progress.

     By making mistakes, and even more horribly, making them publicly, you can begin to learn what works and what doesn't. That's why I'm going to publish this thing after only having written it once, and not having gone back and rewritten several times as I usually do. It's scary for me. But it's good. It will probably be helpful. I hope, anyway.

     Unless you're Isaac Asimov, you probably can't get away with your first draft of anything. I know I can't, and as you can probably see.

     Of course, along with making mistakes, you also have to be willing to correct them. I wonder if I'm going to have to come back later and update this entry because I found some glaring error in the midst of it. Maybe I will. It's likely.

     What I'm trying to do here is get over my fear of being wrong. It's a hideous creature that lives to some extent in all of our closets. And we all need to take up arms against it, if we're ever going to succeed in our pursuits. And let me tell you, it's a hard battle. It will not be easy for me to release this half-baked piece of work like a flock of ungainly pigeons.

     There's something of a conflict here. Here I am telling you not to fear doing something wrong, in a document that is supposed to be wrong. Yeah, uh, I didn't think about that...

     All I can really say is that I clearly didn't think things through quite enough. But in a sense, that's good, since it fits well with the theme of the whole entry. And if it's a bad idea, then it was a bad idea. But I'll probably only know after I try it.

     So in closing, I have these two words of advice, mainly for myself, but hopefully you'll find some use for them: One, Don't be afraid to make mistakes, in anything. Two, When you do make mistakes, admit it, apologize (even if it's only to yourself), and fix it.

     I, um, I guess that's it. Thanks.


  1. P.S. I'm not trying to say here that you should try submitting your first draft for publication. That's part of the point of making mistakes, to know what doesn't work, so you can better understand what does. As for the mess above, I don't know what I was thinking. It's already starting to feel like a bad idea.

    1. Nicely done son! Way to be vulnerable, anything that is worth doing is worth doing badly until you get good at it!