Category Archives: making mistakes

Why We Have To Begin Again


Was there ever a moment in your life when you didn’t know something, you thought you could figure it out, so you tried and flopped, and felt so incredibly embarrassed you didn’t know what to do next?

This is a common feeling I have inside of me. Always wanting to figure out a problem on my own, thinking I can do it, stressing about it, and trying when all I had to do was ask.

It is kind of funny, because as I watch my kids, I see my daughter at three going through some of the same feelings. I give her a task, like putting on her shoes, or picking up her toys, and she runs off eager to do it, “all by myself.” Minutes later, I check in on her and I find her sitting on the floor, without her shoes, or her toys, looking up at me with big green eyes and a trembly lip. “Mommy, will you help me, please?” She asks.

Embarrassment. Pride. Afraid to ask that one simple question.

This past week, I flopped in the process of submitting my comments back to the publisher. So caught up in the content, and the grammar, and how to make the words perfect on the page, I didn’t focus on the method. I made my notes in the comments thinking it was the more respectful manner of submitting return edits, instead of directly editing my piece in track changes. Sigh. I tried. I honestly gave it my best effort in the moment and then I received the note back saying, I hadn’t done my edits correctly, and I felt terrible.

I took several longs breaths and I did what my mom always tells me to do when I make a mistake. Shake it off. Get back in the game and do it as quickly and respectfully as you possibly can. Next thing to always remember, feel good about yourself when it’s done. You learned something. You recognized a learning moment and you had and have, the opportunity to change.

So I responded to the initial email and I made my changes within 24 hours; but this time, I asked questions. I felt nervous and fluttery inside with the thought of not knowing what I desperately wished I’d known on my own, and it was difficult to hit the send button on the email, but I did. Within the hour, she got back with me and was so sweet and thorough, I felt like a fool for fearing the question in the first place.

I’m much wiser now, knowing I need to read everything out-loud to process, and above all things, ask questions. 

Dreamcatching never gets easier no matter where you are in the process. You still have to continue to play ball. You still have to fine tune your craft and network, and relate to people, and above all things, be grateful for the time people spend teaching you.

So thank you to you, for taking time to explore this journey with me, and I hope you have a really lovely week.


Caught In A Moment? Erase Later.

This post is for my facebook friend Dawn. Thanks for the tip, my friend.
I played soccer in high school. Left-midfield because I am left-handed and naturally left-footed. Built for endurance, I could run, I could set a pace and stick with it forever, another player forever, and I kind of liked to steal the ball, too.
I remember the field of grass with the white painted lines, me staring straight ahead at the goal post at the far end as I shadowed a girl from the opposite team, pushing forward with her. The crowd roared, the bodies a blur in the bleachers to the side, and the ref stuck it out somewhere close by, ready to stop the game if anyone broke a rule.
My foot darted between a pair of legs and snagged the ball away, with me turning and rushing fast, ahead of the girl even faster, and I plowed.
I didn’t stop to think, did I run the right way? Maybe I should have cut to the right instead of the left—or pulled the ball back and spun in instead of out. The picture is in your mind. You know the goal and you move toward it in the game. If you second guess yourself before you move, then you might not get moving and miss your chance.
Writing and soccer are sort of the same—in principle anyway.
You see this picture in your head, you know your plot points and you’ve developed your characters so well you practically live them. If you stop yourself, hung up on a word before you  finish a chapter, and most importantly the story, the momentum might fall and the picture begins to fade away.
A first draft is a field of grass with a goal at the end. Your fingers are the instrument, pushing the keys or the pencil and you move, flying with your ideas and writing straight ahead. You could stop to revise your word choice, but just like the game, with a first draft, it’s best to keep writing. Mistakes will happen and there’s always time to fix them when you’re done. Also like the game, you can’t always go back and see the picture as clearly as you did the first time.
I have two tips today, useful ones you could apply to any activity you love to do. First, don’t stop your flow, and two, make mistakes. It’s the intention that matters and mistakes are ways to learn and grow once you’re done in the moment. So keep going, let loose, and don’t be afraid to let yourself get caught up in the moment and the feel of the world around you. You can always find your way back.