The Fumbles and the Bumbles – Don’t judge your Writing by your Learning Curve.


Yes, we’ve all done it, we’ve all been through that awkward stage of youth and learning when our limbs are growing faster than we realize, so clumsiness follows us around like a hex – The same applies to our minds and our logic, which somehow expands before we are really capable of handling it, so we really would be better off not jumping in and speaking, because without a doubt we will suddenly show the world, in a most embarrassing way, just how little we know or just how stupid we can sound.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all said, done and written stupid things. We’ve all embarrassed ourselves.

It’s part of growing up, part of learning. Mistakes teach us things. Embarrassment teaches us things even faster. That’s fine. It sucks at the time, but it really is okay. The big thing is – Don’t judge your writing by your learning curve.

Not all, but most writers start writing while young. Most of them struggle with expression at much the same time as they struggle with everything else – puberty, school, relationships, and How Not to be a Dork.

I was writing sex scenes through puberty. Don’t laugh, my hormones had control of my brain. No knowledge entered the equation. It was mostly fumbling about and kissing, and then I’d hide everything I’d written for fear my mother would see it. Indeed, around that age I very deliberately taught myself shoddy handwriting so that nobody could read it (that backfired on me badly when several years later I found I couldn’t read it either. Go figure).

Now, while I’d love to show you examples of what I mean and entertain you with my long ago juvenile and humorous attempts at writing lust and sexual mayhem, such distant papers are fortunately sadly no more, and my memory refuses to cooperate. However, there were plenty of mistakes made in regular day-by-day stuff writing, too.

These were the expanding-beyond-my-reach sort of clumsy, the don’t-open-your-mouth and definitely don’t-put-pen-to-paper type of clumsy. These mistakes weren’t so much the stupid you-don’t-know-anything mistakes, more the amateur you-don’t-know-your-craft sort of mistakes.

What I will share in a few minutes won’t have you rolling on the floor, and it’s not verbatim – such leftovers seriously were burned many, many years ago. I remember it, though, because the result was the sort of foot-in-mouth hilarious on the surface and, true to young teenage perception, I was totally oblivious to it at the time.

When I did see what I’d done, I wasn’t too embarrassed (because nobody else saw it), but I was deeply disappointed.

I’m sharing this with you all because it’s a prime example of misrecognition. I saw it and I perceived myself as incapable of writing. Ever. I might have given up then and there, and that would have been a mistake – because, although my efforts at the time seemed poor, I was young, foolish, eager, clumsy and learning.

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