Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tahereh Mafi on Making Mistakes & Believing In Yourself

Spring Pollen Reflection
Spring 2014
Outside Raleighwood
The editors over at Adventures in YA Publishing have published a piece by author Tahereh Mafi, author of "Shatter Me"*.  Mafi's piece is on Making Mistakesand the necessity of believing in yourself.  In essence, she writes wise words for struggling writers.  (Which, I think, means all writers.)

My favorite part from her piece is this:

"my journey toward publication has barely started and i’ve already done everything wrong. i wrote my manuscripts wrong. i edited wrong. i queried wrong. i waited wrong. i made every possible mistake but i was committed to never giving up. i discovered that mistakes are okay when you learn from them, and bad manuscripts are just fine if you learn to laugh at them later. i knew that if the first book didn’t work i would write a second one. and if the second one didn’t work i would write a third. nothing was a waste of time. not the fourth book, not the fifth or the sixth. not the time i addressed a male agent by a woman’s name, not the times i thought “editing” meant “looking for typos”, and certainly not the hours i spent hunched over my computer with imaginary friends and places painting my world into something i never knew i could see. 
i discovered: 
  • my first novel taught me how to write.
  • my second novel taught me how to edit.
  • my third novel taught me how to write elegantly.
  • my fourth novel taught me how to write commercially.
  • my fifth novel taught me how to combine all four.
  • my sixth novel taught me how to write a book."

I'm still hoping one day I'll be able to laugh at all of my mistakes.

And feel like I've learned how to write a book.

-- Tom

* Tahereh is also married to Ransom Riggs, author of "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children"(the book I gave away for this year's World Book Night) and its sequel, "Hollow City".