Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blog Chain - My Favorite Mistake

This round's topic was chosen by the lovely Laura who wanted to know:

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

Well, as most of the other awesome people in our chain have mentioned, I've made them all, some of them repeatedly. However, despite the sometimes spectacular mistakes I make, I think the worst one (which turned into the best) was when I quit. Now, in my defense, life had thrown me a huge curve ball. My daughter was born two months early and spent the first seven weeks of her life in the hospital - which was 45 minutes away from where we lived (if there was no traffic). My husband was working 90 + hours a week at the time and we also had a two year old that needed my attention.

So, I definitely had cause to take a nice long break. But I let that break drag on for two years. I had a novel that I was a few chapters from finishing. It was my first book, and when I started it, I was totally in love with it. I couldn't wait for my son's nap time every day so I could dive back in.

Over those two years, I thought about it often, wanted to get back to it, and then found an excuse not to. Eventually, I sat down and finished just a few weeks. And I was hooked again. Have been ever since. And I'll never make that mistake again. Writing gives me something I just can't get from any other aspect of my life. It lets me escape into another world. I can exercise my brain, challenge my abilities, indulge in my love of learning and creating and reading and so many other things.

I've met incredible people, some of whom are now my closest friends. And I've become ME. Before, I was my husband's wife, my children's mother, my parents' daughter. I had degrees, I had jobs, and hobbies and friends. But I didn't know who I was yet. I was still searching for what I wanted to be when I grew up :)

When I started that first book, I got a taste of it. I got a glimpse of the person I could be, of the life I could have. And then I let other things get in the way. Important things, yes. Unavoidable things, of course. But I let it go on too long. I talked myself into believing that everything and everyone else was more important. And you know, sometimes they are. And that's okay.

But I will never make the mistake of letting YEARS go by without writing again. It's too much a part of me now. I am glad I made the mistake of giving up - because now I know what's at stake and I'll never do it again :)

What about you? What is your best mistake?

Be sure to check out the awesome Eric's answer before mine and stop by the always fabulous Kat's blog tomorrow to find out what his best mistake is.


Unknown said...

I love this...I feel the same way. I gave up writing too, over a decade ago, and now I realize how fulfilling it is for me. It's who I am...what I'm supposed to do. I believe once a writer always a may push it away...think it's too hard or that there isn't enough time..but at some point, you will turn back to it, pour yourself in and give up the fight.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Kids have to come first, but not to the point where you don't write for years. Glad you found your way back!

Christine Fonseca said... on earth am I gonna answer this round....Hmmmm...must stew!

C. N. Nevets said...

Best mistake I made was submitting a piece of experimental fiction to a short story contest at my college.

It did very well, which was great for my confidence and helped me me start finding my niche in less traditional narrative styles.

The story was essentially a series of poetic prose vignettes about my unrequited love at the time.

Who, it turned out, was on the judging panel of the competition.

And was smart enough to realize who the piece was about...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your best mistake! I'm so glad you returned to writing. I've considered quitting from time to time, but luckily enough, a breakthrough comes to save the day. ;)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Aw, this was so insightful. Thank you for sharing. You made me ask myself this question and I seriously couldn't think of one good answer. There are so many mistakes we make as writers, and I wouldn't take any of mine back b/c they're what's helped me to grow into the writer I am now. I'm sure I'll make many more mistakes, too, but this is an industry where we sort of fail into success, so I guess it's okay. :)

I'm also VERY glad you came back to writing! You rock at it!

Eric said...

As I struggle to find the time to write, this is one "mistake" I am trying not to make. I admire you greatly for overcoming this and continuing to be the awesome writer you are.

Lindsay said...

True, family comes first. Hmm, best mistake for me...I'll have to think about that one. I've made so many. heehee

Angela said...

I love this post because it's so true.

Unknown said...

I love this post, Michelle. It's so familiar to me since I took an extended break after having my oldest child. And during that time, I wanted to write but just couldn't and found excuses not to. But when I came back to writing...I knew it was different from how I viewed writing before. What a great post, Michelle. Thanks!

Shannon Morgan said...

I had degrees, I had jobs, and hobbies and friends. But I didn't know who I was yet.

That resonates so roundly with me. I feel like I've finally figured out who I am, too.

So glad you got back to your book!

Jan Markley said...

That's a great story! thanks for sharing!

Cole Gibsen said...

That was like me. I was too afraid to start writing because of all the people who told me it wasn't a real career. I'm just glad I ignored them in the end :D

Michelle H. said...

This was a great answer. I'm not sure I could have just quit, but the strength you showed in deciding that and then being able to return shows what a great writer you are!