Mario Villalobos

Admitting I Make Mistakes, and That's Okay

  • Notes

This may be hard to believe, but I am not perfect.

I make mistakes. Like, all the time. One of the reasons why I’m still single in my 30s is because of the many mistakes I’ve made.

After I published yesterday’s post, I went to bed feeling like something was off. Was it the clunkiness in my writing? Yes, but that wasn’t it. My writing is always clunky. Was it how rushed I felt while writing it? Yes, but I always feel like that when working under a deadline. Was it my borderline inappropriate title? Yes, but it wasn’t quite that either.

It was all the above.

Another one of my many “rules” over the years has been to never update or revise anything I’ve published, except for the odd typo or to add a word I’ve needlessly omitted. I’ve never written this “rule” in some style guide or anything, but it was something I did and followed. Once my post is published, I felt like I was done with it, and it was time to move forward.

One of my goals with this project is to refine my craft and revamp my mindset, and part of that means clarifying these unwritten “rules” I hold in my head, to challenge and question them. And this is one of those “rules” I’m challenging.

I remember reading that Robin Sloan edited his posts all the time, and that has provided some comfort. Robin writes:

I remember when I blogged on Snarkmarket, years ago, I would change my posts ALL THE TIME. Not just typo fixes but make pretty substantial tweaks—clumsy language detected with the benefit of an hour’s reflection. Like oil paint; you can move it around for a long time. I loved it.

That quote comes from a post on the great Austin Kleon’s blog, a post where he writes that “blog posts can be edited, added to, improved upon.” Why is that important? Because “I want to be able to be wrong. I want to change my mind! I want to evolve.”

I want to evolve.

To evolve is to admit you’re not perfect, that you are capable of improvement, that your journey is ongoing and never-ending. To evolve is to live, and all I want is to live, mistakes and all.

Earlier today, I re-read yesterday’s post, and I spent some time revising some of it. I changed the title, I polished some of the clunkiness, and I clarified a few thoughts. I would normally be petrified of doing this, but part of my evolution is to do the scary things and hope my readers understand.

Like Austin writes, “to do the exploration that growth and change requires, one needs a forgiving medium… but what one really needs is forgiving readers.”

I will add that I also need to forgive myself for the many mistakes I’ve made and will make. After all, a life without mistakes is a life not lived at all, and again, all I want is to live.