Writer’s Mistakes!

It’s really as simple as that.

Mistakes are allowed, in fact let’s go one step further and encourage them! 

Remember when I told you about my sons and the cornflakes? That was an accident. Son no. 3 had made the mistake of over reaching. BUT… if he hadn’t  they would never have heard the sounds of crisp cornflakes crunch under welly boots. They would never have made golden flaked angels.

Sir Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin by accident. Searching for a new ‘wonder-drug’ to kill all diseases, he thought he was failing. On throwing all of his experiments out he was left with a mold, that kills every bacteria around it.

In 1956, the inventor of the Pacemaker Wilson Greatbatch was actually trying to record the heart rhythm when he reached for the wring resistor, He went ahead and inserted  it and noticed the circuit emitted electrical impulses, and thought they might work to improve the heart circulatory. So went ahead and made a smaller version.

These are just two of the great mistakes that have gone forward to save lifes.

By nature, we can’t stop mistakes.  They just happen. When they do they can’t and shouldn’t all be erased. As well as learning from them, we need be able to judge our now work on the merits it has. 

Knowing when to say,  “this is the one” is extremely difficult. Each copy of art whether is writing or painting is a little part of you. And by saying that a mistake needs to be thrown away with assessing, can feel judgemental towards ourselves.

By learning to except our mistakes we accept that part of we have no control over.

Mistakes can happen in a multitude of manners as a writer,

The most important function on your laptop/pc

forgetting to save that chapter so you have to rewrite but… Hey! you know the new chapter is TEN TIMES BETTER.

Which are you a planner or a pantser?

Not creating a plan to start with and ending up going off an a tangent, then realising the TANGENT is EXACTLY where you want to go.

Having unnatural dialogue. Accents are fun, and we all have one and I bet mine is different to yours. In fact I have moved around so much, mine is created from many. Some words are from my native Lancashire, some from home of Yorkshire, others from Cornwall, London and so on. And it is not just regional, it’s age related. How many older adults understand all the ‘new words and phrases’ used today? Do you have to Google them? I confuse my kids when I ask them “Do you want a chufty badge?” Basically a sarcastic term for a non existent badge for doing something they should be doing anyway, from the 80s (that’s the NINETEEN eighties!) Print a page out give it to someone else to read, can they tell you how many people are on the page, and who is saying which line? If not you have some work to do.

Unrealistic Character. We all want a hero or heroine but listen carefully, THEY DO NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT! Faults or flaws or simply interesting characteristics will give them a greater depth. These people you are creating need to be BELIEVABLE. C’mom admit, you go for the guy with the perfect hair and crooked smile, the person who gets agitated when the waiter gets a meal order wrong, then gushes apologetically when the food arrives and is divine, the woman who spends too much time getting ready for your work do, but then manages to charm even the meanest of bosses. You flaws can be physical or emotional or they wire they are wired differently, yet each one needs to be justified. Don’t give limp to a cop without telling us HOW they achieved it, we like a little back story. We need to empathise with them, and invest in them emotionally even the bad guys! Show us the humanity.

It does not matter what genre you are writing but predictability can kill a good story. Be aware of the trends in your genre and go against them, see what works for you and your story. Flip it on its head.

Clichés work for some genres like romance, it is honestly what we expect, but don’t fall into a habit of relying on them. It makes for lazy writing, and your readers will eyeroll and start skipping ahead. Here’s an idea… why not create your own, you are a writer after all!

Conflict comes in many ways. You know right at the beginning of as story, when the characters refuses to do something new, THAT IS CONFLICT! When they realise the journey is harder than they thought and want to change their mind, THAT IS CONFLICT. It is not always the actual fight scene or discord in your story, the conflict can be internal as well as external. The roof collapses on a struggling single mum with no income, THAT IS CONFLICT. Conflict is GOOD! It drives your story forward, without, you would have no story!


Ok, stop! Wait a minute! You are editing as you go? NOOO! If you do this, seriously you will NEVER FINISH, and this one comes from experience! Finish you first draft THEN EDIT.

Here are a few tips to help you accept.

Take a step back and look at you creative piece from all aspects. Does it work from a new perspective?

Admire it for what it is.

OWN IT. You did, so what the hell! It happened, you can’t go back and wish it hadn’t. 

Learn from it. But don’t let it stop you writing.

If you want feedback on your draft then why not book a one to one with me.

Simply, just drop me an email here.

Published by The Coffeehouse Writer

Writer of screen, stage and book. Yoga pants addict (they are so comfy!), occasional rum drinker, always a mum.

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