We all have, right? We think we know exactly what is needed in order to get things done, then realize what we thought we knew isn’t going to work. Something didn’t happen, or we misunderstood things. Whatever the cause, something did not work out as planned.
This is fine. I use mistakes as opportunities for learning, trying to figure out the point where things went wrong, and taking notes on how to make what I want to do work the next time around.
There is an initial period of stress, but I make every attempt not to let this get me down. I work through the stressful moments until I get things figured out. Sometimes I have to start back at the beginning. Other times I can see that it was a later step that got messed up, and work from there.
And still other times, I find that the mistake is not my fault at all. That the messed up outcome is actually the cause of a problem with a program. For instance, recently I was trying to ready a manuscript in OpenOffice for publishing. Try as I might, I could not get the program to save images. Mind you, I’ve been using this program for years and love it. I’d never had this problem but, all of a sudden, I just could not save images.
I looked through the help section of the program, but nothing it said to do to fix the problem worked. I looked on their site. Still nothing worked. Finally, stressed out, I messaged my brother-in-law. I explained the issue, and told him it just started occurring with no previous problems and asked him, if I uninstalled the program and reinstalled, would the process delete all the manuscripts and other writings I’ve created with the program over the years.
Then I put it out of my mind and concentrated on another task until he could read the message and respond.
Later that night he responded, explaining that the files and edits are separate from the program itself. He told me I was safe to perform the uninstall/install tasks. The next day I did so, and things have been moving along nicely.
I’d never had a real problem with the program, and he later explained that sometimes things like that just happen – for whatever reason. I’m thankful I have him to talk about technological issues with, and have learned a lot from him.
Recently, I was trying to upload a new story to Amazon’s Kindle program, and something wonky happened. I started a new book and saved everything, then the screen went to a previous story I’d published. I went out of that and back to the start page, and the new manuscript was not there, so I did it all over thinking it must have just been a glitch.
I then received a message from a friend who reads my ebooks. She told me she had purchased Bang! and received it just fine, but she had also purchased Rascal only to find that the inside was also Bang!.
At first I had no idea what could be wrong, then I remembered the wonky incident when trying to upload the new story. I messed up. Rascal was the story I had been taken to when the ‘glitch’ happened. I should have immediately checked the preview of that story, to be sure it had not been changed, before re-uploading the other. I did not, and now I had to.
I don’t even know how it happened, because you create a new ebook above where your other ebooks are listed. You start with a clean slate, which is how I started out. I guess there really was some glitch. One I may never understand.
But I fixed the problem. It took almost a day for it to get fixed on their end, but it was done. I found I stressed some, but not too much. Probably because I was sure I was going to be able to get it fixed on my own, and I told myself most people have automatic updates on the books ebooks they buy through Amazon.com anyway. They would get the updates.
Both of these things happened this year, and weren’t my only mistakes. For instance:
- Twice I’ve uploaded a manuscript for publishing, that showed a few typos at the preview stage. I simply went in and fixed the typos, then re-uploaded. It takes a little more time. I’m sure this will happen again, as I am not perfect, and have decided to be okay with this.
- When publishing Organize Your Space and Stuff, I uploaded the cover and manuscript, filled in the information, hit publish, and thought I was good to go. Then, when they sent the email telling me the ebook was up for sale on their site, I clicked over to look at it and noticed my mistake. I’d uploaded the incorrect book cover, the one that said ‘Organizing’ rather than the one that said ‘Organize’. I went back in and updated the cover, but it took another day for that problem to be fixed on their end. Also, I noticed after redoing this that the new cover still was not the one being shown, so I had to repeat this a couple more times. All told, it took a couple of days to fix this problem. Ugh.
- Then I noticed, for the same book, the word ‘Organizing’ needed to be changed to ‘Organize’ in the description. This meant I had to go back into the book information, change it, and then re-save – again. Theses updates took another day to go into effect.
- I write and edit articles quickly, and sometimes notice typos after publication. When I do, I try to correct them right off so I don’t forget.
- While putting together Organize Your Space and Stuff from old articles on the blog, I became aware of how far my writing has come. I’m a better writer than I was a few years back. It took months of editing articles and adding important information to them to get that book out. Not as easy-peasy as I’d hoped. But I’m glad I did, and am planning to do it again with another topic. I’ve learned to edit a little more carefully due to finding those mistakes.
This is not a complete list, either. I’m just full of mistakes. But I have decided not to let them get me down, and to keep moving forward no matter what. I’ll fix them when I notice, or when kind and understanding friends and readers point them out to me.
It is true, the more you write, edit, and publish, the more you’ll learn. Practice does not always make perfect, but perfection is not always necessary.
Go ahead. Make mistakes. Correct them when you notice, and don’t stress too much over any mistakes you do make. Everything if fixable.
Any mistakes you want to share, if only to make me and others feel better? Leave a comment, or email me personally at email@example.com. I enjoy hearing from you, and always respond.
Shannon L. Buck