My old gran used to say, 'Smart folks try to learn from their mistakes, the wise ones try to learn from other people's.' With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to hear about some of the big writerly-type mistakes people feel they've made, and what they learned from them.
As you might imagine, I've made a fair few myself, but if I had to pick, I'd say these are the two biggest so far:
NOT REALIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING HOW TO WRITE PROPERLY
From the Spring of 2003 to the Winter of 2007, I wrote four complete novels, at least I thought they were complete. In reality, they were little more than poorly-written first drafts.
What I should have also been doing during that time was working to improve my craft, but in my blissful ignorance, I didn't realize there was so much about writing that I didn't even know I didn't know. If I'd taken the time to find out, those drafts would have turned out much better.
YOU HAVE TO KEEP WRITING NEW FICTION
In December of 2009, when Echelon Press offered me a contract for Fur-Face, I made the mistake of confusing editing work and book promotion with actual writing. Although I did a fair bit of work outlining several new book ideas (an important part of my writing process), I wrote very few new words of fiction in 2010.
In January of this year, I had to force myself to make it a priority. After almost six months, I feel like I'm at last back on track. I have a good routine now which seems to work for me.
How about you?
What are the biggest writerly mistakes you've made?