Friday, March 2, 2012

The Importance of Insignificant Things

Hi all, today I welcome someone who I see as a bit of a blogging legend. Her quirky style and awesome blogging voice always keep me going back for more. So if you've never read Mia's blog, I suggest you hop over there right now.

My break is still in full swing, but I'll see you all on Wednesday. In the mean time, I hope you don't miss me too much! ;-P Have a great weekend. X

Take it away, Mia. Thanks for this great post. *hugs*

My supervsor said something interesting the other day. It struck me right down the middle. It rang true. ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE IT HERE.

She said, “Mia, sometimes the insignifcant results are the ones that really count.

Profound, but only if you know the background. So! Allow me to fill you in on some important deets:

1)      I am a final year Psych undergrad researching WORDS and PSYCHOLOGY and STUFF. This sounds super fantastic but a) they’re only temporal words and b) all I can really tell you right now is that past words happen before future ones and this is really COOL. QED.

2)      I have a supervisor who supervises my research, as le name suggests.

3)      I experiment on REAL LIVE PEOPLE, FYI.

4)      My results THUS FAR are insignificant. That is to say, the results we expected were not found at all. I spend my nights weeping in a corner and drowning my sorrows with ice cream because of this.

So! Background complete! Now what am I getting at? Well, guys, that’s right, you guessed it, I want to talk about writing here. 

I want to talk about mistakes. Mistakes in writing are like insignificances in research, they’re actually tres interesting. It took a while for me to see it, but blunders are important.  Those early days when you first start out and everything that comes out of your creative moments feel DIRTY, and not in a sensual way but in a I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING HERE I AM JUST REACHING FOR THINGS way? Those days?

They are important. They are so very important.

For without confusing a prologue with a first chapter, without stumbling through awkward dialogue, and crying over lost descriptions, without any of that how are we to learn how to write? There are no set rules in writing, even the ones everyone gets so hung up on are occasionally and very successfully broken.  There are no rules in writing and that is why it’s so hard to describe how we do it.

Do we sit in a dark room surrounded by only the whisperings of imaginary people or do we write in a café encased by the buzzing of life? Do we cry? Do we laugh? Do we start at the beginning and work forward? Do we not?

As far as I can tell, we do all of it.  It’s up to you to pick and choose. And that’s why the apparent mistakes, and the occasional awkward paragrpahs, are important. The disappointing results of your efforts, and the confusing outcome of nights of hard work, they help you understand who you you are. And only by knowing who you are as a writer can you know how it is you can write.

Because sometimes the things that go wrong,

the abandoned novels and

the words that won’t quite

come together.

Sometimes they are the most important of all.

The show you the way to

the greatness within.

So HOW DO WE WRITE? I cannot possibly tell you, but I can tell you how we don’t write. We don’t write by being timid, by being unable to conquer our fears. We don’t write by sticking only to what we know will work, and by never taking chances. We are dynamic, flexible, and brave indidivuals. We try, and we are not afraid of the darkness. We are, and that is enough.

So! Haha! What are the mistakes and insignifiances you have encountered in your journey? I know the main one for me was NOT TO PLOT. I am very bad at plotting, as soon as I accepted that one things got a little easier.


  1. Great post! You're absolutely right. The struggles and times we think we're going nowhere are some of the most important parts of the journey. It's how we figure out what works and what doesn't and how to keep improving and moving forward!

    Have a great weekend, Mia and Misha!

  2. Mia:
    I've never been able to plot either. I plot as I go...or maybe it's my characters...yeah, I wait for my characters to tell me what to do. OMG. I'm beginning ot sound like a serial killer.

  3. So true. As I've always told me kids: A mistake is never a mistake unless you don't learn from it.

    "We are not afraid of the darkness." :D

  4. Great post. There are days I feel like a hamster on running endlessly on it's wheel. My writing seems to go nowhere, but as soon as I realize I can get off the wheel, everything is good again.

  5. I thought that just because I lived or experienced something, made it was worth reading. NOT! I had to learn the craft of writing to make something readable.

  6. I guess mine would be don't wing it then, because I desperately need an outline!

  7. My first biggest mistake was the same as yours...not to plot. Boy did that story run all over the place. At the time though...I thought it was genius. Funny how that works eh?

  8. Thanks for this post! I think mistakes are an important part of the creative process. They can lead to great discoveries, even if they take us on a detour first.

  9. I'm a confirmed pantser..and I pay for it while I edit! But sometimes my panstering leads to amazing places.

  10. Great post! We do learn as we write.

  11. Thanks for having me, Misha!!

    You guys are AWESOMEE. I'm glad we all know the value of mistakes. Totally took me FOREVER to realise it but the things I do wrong mean something. Mm!


  12. I was recently going through my "cut file" for one of my latest books, and there are so many tidbits that did not make it into the book but are SO provocative and INTERESTING, the way they come together. Sometimes I think the cut stuff is more fun than the final product, talk about the value of mistakes :)

  13. What a great post! Loved your thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing them.

  14. Hi Misha! Thanks for hosting the gorgeous Mia here! All I can add to her wise words of wisdom is - where are the illustrations!?!? The crazy diagrams?!?! The pie chart? Actually who ate all the pie?? :-)

    Yay - it's great to live and learn! Take care

  15. Plotting is my problem, too. I'm much more successful when I know how my beginning and ending are related before I write the "saggy middle". :)

  16. Mia, thank you for this thoughtful guest post and also for directing me here through your blog. :) One of the most mysterious things that I have discovered on my journey as a writer is that I never know when "it clicks." Sometimes, I am on a literary frenzy and write and write and write. Basically there's a waterfall of words pouring out from inside of me and I love what I am doing. And other times I can't write - it's not just writer's block, but a mind block and inability to accurately describe what I am thinking into words. It's always frustrating when I have a mind block, but then I never know when I will be on a literary frenzy again. It comes and goes.

    It's very mysterious. Writing is such a mysterious thing!

    The Red Angel Blog

  17. One mistake I made in my early drafts was including too much dialogue and not much else, i.e., description, action, etc. It can be easy to get weighed down by our mistakes or by situations when we don't do everything we set out to do; one thing that makes it easier for me is to work on each issue one at a time rather than try to tackle everything all at once.

  18. If we don't get it wrong, how will we know when it's right? :-)

  19. Great post Misha and Mia! Everyone learns from their mistakes! After all it is only human to make mistakes!

  20. Misha, I am awarding you a Sunshine Award for all of you kind words throughout this Campaign!

  21. Hi Misha,
    Dropping by from your campaign group to award you a Versatile Blogger Award for your cool blog. :) You can check it out on my blog under the 'awards' tab.
    Nice article - very interesting.
    Have fun!

  22. Wow thats a fabulous blog post, keep updating with the latest ones...


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