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My Willingness to Make Mistakes Is One Of My Biggest Assets

dare to make mistakesIf you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know I make mistakes.

My spelling is, well, creative to put a good spin on it.

I’ve sent out the newsletter with wrong links and made a hash of headlines. And sometimes my grammar would make an English teacher shudder.

On the other hand there are over 1,300 articles here, most of which are pretty decent. There is in fact, a wealth of information about the freelance writing game.

The information is solid even with the mistakes and for the most part I’ve gotten the errors corrected. And most of my readers appreciate that fact – they often say so.

The point?

If I’d been unwilling to make mistakes this blog wouldn’t be here.


It was a long time ago when I recognized I was better off making a decision, even if it was wrong, than spending a whole lot of Β time dithering. The world does not end because I’m wrong. In truth, when I’m wrong the world hardly notices.

The same thing is true about mistakes.

When we let the fear of making a mistake stop us nothing gets done.

If we let fear of making mistakes stop us from writing, well, nothing will get written.

It seems almost too obvious to say, but if you don’t get something written you never ever will be published or be able to earn your living as a freelance writer.

I count my willingness to make mistakes one of my biggest assets simply because that willingness let’s me get a whole lot done.

Which isn’t to say I like making mistakes; I don’t. I simply accept the fact that if I’m doing something, including writing, I’ll make some.

None of us were born knowing how to write for a living. None of us were born knowing how to blog or write a book or draft an article or create a poem or a novel.

In order to get any of those things done we’ve had to learn, to be willing to take baby steps as we practice our craft. We’ve had to be willing to make mistakes so we can continue to move forward.

Come to think of it, the same thing applies to lots of what goes on in our lives. Mistakes seem to be part of life’s very fabric.

Where are you letting the fear of mistakes stop you? What are you going to do about it?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman Writing Coach

Coaching can help you overcome your fear of making mistakes and get writing.

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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • edna

    thanks again for a great post. I used to be so uptight about my writing that it was really tough to get anything done on time, much less get it to an editor on time. I’ve gotten over it for the most part but i do ask other people to read articles for me and that helps. And I’m much more productive.

    That fear of making mistakes is horrid. I still get caught up in it sometimes when I lesson or show on my horse; cuz its alot like golf….it can always be better πŸ™‚

  • jorgekafkazar

    Mistakes are part of the human experience. If we did everything perfectly, there would be no excitement, no drama. More importantly, no golf.

    • rotfl… if golf and football disappeared from the planet I’d never notice, Jorge. But I take your meaning.

  • Dawn Scire

    Writing for city newspaper, it feels unacceptable (to me) to make mistakes. Everything must be fact-checked and fact-checked again. It makes the actual writing drag on eternally–and, inevitably, I do make mistakes. Sometimes my own fault, sometimes that of one of the sources.
    Either way, I am definitely my harshest critic as I’m still troubled by some of those errors where, maybe, people haven’t gotten proper credit or perhaps I’ve misspelled a name. Sure, they’ve been corrected in another issue of the publication, but aren’t in context with the original piece.
    So, sadly, this is a problem for me to this day, nearly 1000 columns/pieces later.
    Thanks for the article and to the others who’ve commented.

    • Dawn, in my mind there’s a huge difference between an insistence on an impossible goal like perfection and a determination to do the best you can.

  • Thanks Anne! True blue you are:) Seriously, I was beginning to doubt if I’d contribute again to a great ezine after being slightly chastised in the comment section for writing a post apologizing about my typos! It was a satire piece, with a sincere focus. I actually respect the wisdom of good advice. So why am I relunctant to continue to post there ? asks the little fish?
    Clara Freeman recently posted..30 Years as a Successful Author: Tips from Marianne WilliamsonMy Profile

  • Learning from mistakes is the biggest lesson to have learnt from life. I have started writing articles for blogs recently and have improved after reading my own articles, seeing my own mistakes. Obviously now with the spelling checker I have avoided one thing .
    Ronak recently posted..Who is Sonia Gandhi?My Profile

    • hah, a spell checker doesn’t solve all spelling problems… but it’s a good start imo.

  • This is such a great post and it is so true! I used to struggle with embarrassment and shame when I made a mistake. I still do–but it passes quickly and that’s the key. You just have to assume that you’ll make mistakes and learn to get through it.
    Charlotte Rains Dixon recently posted..Just a Little Thing Called FearMy Profile

  • Ali

    I was scared of making mistakes… really scared, when I started blogging. I thought people would laugh at me and I’ll end up embarrassed. But when I started, I was always sad as there were only a few returning readers and subscribers.

    Then I read somewhere that it’s good to have few readers in the beginning as a few people will see you stumbling.

    Today I read making mistakes is better than not trying at all… thank God I did try. I made countless mistakes but I’ve learned a lot from these slipups.

    I wonder how it would be if, like other honoring days, there’s a Mistake Day when you must make mistakes, or maybe confess your biggest blunders in open…
    Ali recently posted..The Top 10 Job Boards For WritersMy Profile

    • agree… the mistakes are far from the end of the world.

  • I do think that quality can reveal itself in different shapes,
    just as with software that can have a certain quality and very usefull even with a few bugs in it, than when you want to get an upgraded version they make you pay for
    their mistakes by selling you an upgrade.

    So feel free to start buying lot’s of products from my site in a way that I can afford a permanent editor, because I do think that for somebody else it’s easier to spot my mistakes than to spot my own.

    And when you see all my-takes as mis-takes, possibly
    – your – might be making a mis-take πŸ™‚
    HP van Duuren recently posted..Your Blog As a – Platform – To Work FromMy Profile

  • None of us are perfect, but as writers we are own worst critics. I need to apply this to my marketing as well. Great post, Anne.
    Wade Finnegan recently posted..Should I Hire a Professional Writer?My Profile

  • I stopped blogging for a while because of mistakes. I didn’t want to make them. It gradually got that way with more traffic. Like a stage fright. I still have to fight it every now and then.
    Stephan Miller recently posted..Writing, Meditation, and the Irreplaceable Value of Wasted TimeMy Profile

    • glad your back at it… I love the concept of how valuable wasted time is.

  • I used to have a coworker who started every gossip share with Now, you realize I’m perfect… I am sure I have plenty out there to prove that perfection is not my problem. πŸ™‚ And one thing I discovered as I got *ahem* seasoned, was the ability to cut myself some slack over the mitsakes (I love the graphic, t00.) πŸ™‚

    I like to ask myself, What’s the worst that can happen? And I’ve found out a time or two, and you know what? It wasn’t that bad.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Annoying Business Jargon Even the Pros UseMy Profile

    • One of the advantages of getting older is discovering we didn’t die from those things we were sure would kill us way back then.

  • There’s a middle path between being such a perfectionist that you get hardly anything done and being someone who puts any old thing they wrote on the Internet with no editing or forethought whatsoever.

    I’m willing to make some mistakes in public in order to keep producing. That said, I also do pay attention to quality.
    John Soares recently posted..Simplicity and the Successful FreelancerMy Profile

  • Love this, Anne – you have to put yourself out there to achieve anything, even if it doesn’t always go according to plan (and love the graphic) πŸ˜‰
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..The Best Free Apps For WritersMy Profile

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