My Reflections on Writing Excuses 12.53 – True Confessions

My podcast app didn’t download the episode from Christmas Eve, so I’ll have to play catch up on that one. However, while driving to attend a write-in with my writing group of amazing people, I was able to get caught up on this week’s episodeย and it was a humdinger. (I’ve been rewatching Psych on Amazon Prime, so my language may be stranger than normal).

Episode Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

Humor: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

Usefulness to me right now:ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

True Confessions was all about things that the hosts have attempted that they failed at, and not just old trunk novels from the starting days of writing, but more recent. For most of them, that was within the last year.

Listening to them postmortem their way through these failed project was inspiring and hilarious and made me feel in much closer company. These are all people whose works I have read and admired. And having just completed another novel where I pushed myself to do something I’ve never tried before (multiple POV), I can say that I also failed.

That story is a bit of a mess plot-wise and interest-wise (boring start and plodding), but as I have already mentioned in past posts, I learned a ton from writing it. That failure showed me what to fix the next time I work on a multiple POV story.

Learning to be okay failing at something is a challenge for me. I’ve been a perfectionist my whole life and frustration is my natural response when I don’t get something right within the first few iterations. I’m used to figuring stuff out quickly. But in the last decade or so, I’ve been getting better. Having a child who has a similar frustration response certainly helps make me more aware of it in myself as I try to remind and support him when he doesn’t get something right immediately.

Dealing with failure also has helped me work on my self-compassion. I recently read an article from Kristen Wong on the New York Times about self-compassion and how it can help with being confident.ย I am definitely one that needs to better learn good self talk; failure gives me a chance to see my weaknesses and acknowledge them within the context of my strengths. Yes, my story may have been a hodge-podge and not very good, but my story structure and plot-weave were so much better in this book than previously. And I tried something new that I also succeeded at – I balanced several story threads and gave them all appropriate weight and tied them together well. So, yes I failed to make something that I would publish (at least right now), but the bones of the story are correct.

So in the same spirit as the podcasters, please take my true confession to heart – you can and should fail frequently.

And as Howard Tayler’s Maxim #70 of 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries states:

ย Failure is not an option – it is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.

One thought on “My Reflections on Writing Excuses 12.53 – True Confessions

  1. Right there with you on this one. I look back at some of my early manuscripts and have a really hard time accepting them for what they are – first attempts at trying to figure out how to write fiction. They were written was before I studied anything about structure, character arc and all that. But I look at them and often think that for some weird reason, I should have done better.

    Even now, I still battle a perfectionist mindset and see so many holes in my drafts that it’s hard for me to get motivated to edit it because I know it will never be as good as I expect it. So, your thoughts on self-compassion ring so true with my experience as well. Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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