Make Mistakes to Find Out What You Want

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I was just reading the November issue of O magazine and thought this piece of advice would encourage you to take action in your writing life. Excerpt from the article Where To Start by Anne Lamott:

When I was a young writer, I was talking to an old painter one day about how he came to paint his canvases. He said that he never knew what the completed picture would look like, but he could usually see one quadrant. So he'd make a stab at capturing what he saw on the canvas of his mind, and when it turned out not to be even remotely what he imagined, he'd paint over it in white. And each time he figured out what the painting wasn't, he was one step closer to finding out what it was.

You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself.


Sometimes we are afraid to try something new. Some of us fear rejection and others are so used to doing things a certain way it becomes comfortable and we don't want to break the pattern. Then there are still others that think about doing something so much it becomes overwhelming and we give up. We need to remember that we can't plan for everything. No matter how many times you play out a situation in your head, it will always come out differently in the real world. The important thing is to try. If you make a mistake, "paint" over it and move on. You'll be one step closer to discovering what you really want or who you were meant to be.


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