Blog Chain: Biggest Mistakes

My turn in the blog chain has arrived a little early. I switched turns for this round, coming in second. So I'm jumping in a quick response, but this is quite an interesting topic. Laura's up for this round (I believe I'm up first during the next *gulp*). Make sure you read up on her response. You won't be disappointed! Her question:

Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?

This is a great question because I often think of my writing mistakes and on how I can improve from them to further my writing career. Besides learning to type by actually looking at the screen to reduce the number of typos (hey - at least I learned to type with ALL my fingers), I believe my best mistake was a technical one.

I accidentally deleted one of my manuscripts - the whole manuscript - twice.

Why would this be my best mistake? All that work, all those lost chapters, gone without having backed up the files?!?!?! The reason it was the best mistake I made was that I learned to first back up that manuscript in every way possible. But I also discovered two most important things:

I learned to improve on my writing

I allowed the plot to evolve in ways that made the manuscript better.

This second reason had to be the most wonderful outcome to my best mistake. With that one press of the delete button, I didn't stick with a set storyline as I recreated the manuscript. My characters changed. They grew in their personalities and interactions. Descriptive paragraphs allowed for the scenes to have more life: to hear and feel and almost taste the things going on. A singular plot developed arcs, branching out yet maintaining a purpose brought together into a solid story.

Instead of merely deleting a simple typo, I deleted a manuscript. And when I rewrote it, I found it was the best thing that ever happened.

Remember to go see Laura for her answer. Shaun will have his post up tomorrow.


  1. I don't think I've ever deleted an entire manuscript, but I often ignore my first draft and just start over from scratch. I find my characters and plot often change dramatically. Glad to see that rewriting your manuscript worked out for you.

  2. Nice way to answer this. Deleting your work can be a great motivator, huh? Thankfully I've not made that mistake, but I'm also a big believer in multiple copies all over the place. It's an IT guy/security thing.

  3. Now this is an awesome answer. I've never done it with a whole manuscript or on accident, but I am a firm believer in deleting. If I spend a lot of time on a chapter or group of chapters and find that, after a large chunk of time, I'm still not happy, I delete them. It's a cringe-inducing experience but one that needs to happen occasionally. I did this with Deathday. I'd written six chapters and realized that the first one was the only one that worked. I agonized over how to salvage the others but realized the only way to save the story was to delete them.

    But, like Eric, I'm all about backups. I keep my stories in an on-line cloud but also back up to physical media...just in case.

  4. Anonymous1:41:00 PM

    Wow! What a way to find the silver lining! I've had a computer metldown too. Luckily I had my most recent WIP, but the oldies are gone. (I do have them in hard copy, but boy do they need WORK!)

    Nice post! Definitely inspirational!!!!!!!

  5. That is an interesting question, and I love your answer! That would have been so hard to face, I think. Good for you for continuing forward and gaining something positive!

  6. This reminds me to back up all my files! It's terrific that you can look so positively on that experience!

  7. Maybe all writers should be required to delete a draft. I have to admit, if it happened to me, I'd either have to LOVE the project -- or be under contract -- to recreate it.

  8. HOLY OUCH! If that happened to me I would still be crying about it. Good on you for being able to see the silver lining!

  9. I would've cried, and that's a heck of a mistake to make. But it sounds like you really took it as an opportunity to let go of the reins and evolve as a writer. Good for you!


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