Thursday, January 15, 2015


Whenever there are many "rules" coming from different voices governing how a certain art form should be performed, it opens up an abundance of opportunities for an artist to “make mistakes.”

Whether they’re stated or implied, rules are dished out for all walks of art and creative genres…. Dancers need lean figures. An action movie must have at least one high-speed car chase. A fancy meal should be garnished with fresh herbs when plated.  Female protagonists ought to be likeable, be relatable, and always make smart choices.

Sometimes what a person calls a rule, I just regard as a suggestion. And sometimes what critics regard as a mistake is what I see as the artist experimenting, taking a risk, and/or making a genuine and good faith effort to do the right thing. 

So just because someone deviates from the rules, it doesn’t mean that the outcome of their work must necessarily be bad.

Recently, I read an article about a woman who once tried knitting a winter hat for herself, and she unintentionally left a hole in the back of the hat. Long story short, she put her ponytail through the hole and wore her hat out this way to “amuse” her family. Then, people around her began asking about getting a hat similar to hers, and a business was born.

So this woman’s success stemmed from her boldly showing the public her “mistake.”

Yes, sometimes a creative endeavor can lead to unmistakable mistakes...There’s another article I read about a woman celebrating not-so-successful crafting projects by launching a website and creating a book. On what the author describes as her “friendly fail site” are images of neat and polished finished projects that one might see on Pinterest, and images of how such a project someone attempted actually turned out. From her interview, it appears this woman wants to help people find humor in their mistakes, and to think about how to improve.

I like this idea of a safe haven for people to go to where they can show off their mistakes. I wish there were more safe places like this out there, especially on the Internet. 

How do you handle mistakes, real or perceived? 


Pat Hatt said...

That is true, a lot more can come from a mistake then getting it right many times. If I make a mistake, I have just learned one more way not to do something. Unless the mistake is a good one of course

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I spent way more time than I should've over at that CraftFail site. ;-)

They say that if you're not failing some of the time, you're playing it too safe.

Mostly I deal with failure by crying and moaning and then starting over!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I love the knit hat with the hole for ponytail idea! How cute, especially that she only showed it off to poke fun at herself and then everyone loved it!

Sherry Ellis said...

I've heard of many "mistakes" becoming great products.

Anonymous said...

We learn from mistakes and some mistakes have a great outcome. Either way, mistakes are meant to be and we always get something out of them.

Julie Dao said...

Rules as suggestions - definitely a great way to think, especially when it comes to writing where so-called taboos are accepted when done well! (i.e. love triangles, prologues) I think that one person's mistake can be another person's inspiration. Great example with the hat!

Nick Wilford said...

We can't get everything right the first time. Every success is the result of many mistakes!

Jay Noel said...


I don't handle mistakes and failure very well. Interestingly, making mistakes has always resulted in something positive coming out of it. Failure = learning.

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