Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lessons to Learn From Writing Mistakes & Failures

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I haven’t met a single person who enjoys making a mistake or failing in some way. 

I certainly don’t. 

But I’ve learned to look at certain mistakes & failures from a slightly different perspective. 

That change has helped me continue to grow and blossom in an industry that can be brutal.

Lessons to Learn
  • Rejection. I know, no one likes rejection. But the truth is this, if you’re sending things out and getting rejected then you’re doing the work of a real writer. You’ve taken your dream from wishing to working and you need to applaud that.
  • A Badly Edited Article. It could be a blog post, article, whatever. But the chances are, if you’re getting published regularly, you’re going to be the victim of poor editing. Contrary to wrecking your reputation, consider this an entre into a whole new level of professional writer. Shake it off, give them the benefit of the doubt, and move on.
  • Having to ask for an Extension. Once you begin writing—and selling—regularly, you’ll hit a time when life happens. Missing any kind of a deadline isn’t something we want to do. And you never want to be known as the writer who always requests an time extension, but when catastrophe strikes, communicating with your editor marks you as a professional.
  • Losing a Contest. Entering contests can be a jump start to a writer’s career. But it’s not the path of every single writer you meet. Losing a contest is something to celebrate because again, it means you’re putting your work out there. Give yourself some credit and keep working for your dream.
  • Losing a Contract/Agent. This business is constantly in flux. That means that contracts and personnel aren’t permanent either. There are a lot of reasons that publishers/editors/agents cancel contracts. Some are personal, but those are in the minority. This is the time to celebrate the fact that you actually had a contract and remind yourself you’ll have another one in the future.
  • Going Through a Dry Spell. We can’t always be inspired. There are times when the words flow, almost seeming to dance from our fingers onto the screen. There are other times when those same words are weighted by the clunky concrete known as lack of inspiration. When you find yourself writing through a dry spell celebrate your own discipline. Realize that you are in a tempering place and the resiliency you’re developing now will stand you in good stead in the future.
  • Irritating Someone. I don’t know about you, but I’m a people pleaser. I hate to have anyone unhappy with me. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. There are some of us who just rub each other wrong way. If you are universally loved, the chances are you’re not doing much of anything. Don’t try to irritate others, but be yourself, stand up for your craft and get ready for real life.
I’d love to know what writing mistakes/failures you’ve experienced that turned out to be worth celebrating. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. Great advice. Many of us who have endured know whereof you speak! Nice to know we are not alone and that God has life lessons in our disappointments and frustrations.

    1. Linda, it does help to know we have a community who understands! Blessings, E

  2. Nothing knocks the wind out of me like a rejection, or a bad review. But if you're truly called to write, as I believe I am, these can become a challenge. I might lie down a while first, though, just until I get my breath. :)

    1. Betty, bad reviews are difficult, but if nothing else, they give me someone to add to my prayer list. ;) Blessings, E

  3. No one likes failing or making mistakes but we cannot allow this fear to paralyze us. We need to keep writing, learning and improving.
    Love how you stress to act professional in each situation.
    Thanks for the advice, Edie.

    1. Ingmar, one of the best things about failing and making mistakes I've found is the grace I've discovered from others . Blessings, E

  4. I love it! Remember Ms. Edie that FAIL is an acronym, meaning First Attempt Is Learning. The key to remember for me as an author is that I am always learning. God's blessings ma'am.

  5. Thank you so much, Edie, for your words of wisdom, straight from God's heart. As a "newby" to this profession, they are encouraging and refreshing!