Expect more typos from me

I recently completed a 10-week advanced memoir writing class with a well-known writing school. I gained tons of valuable tips for my memoir: how to find the right balance between action and reflection, how to create engaging dialogue and how to end a memoir with just the right amount of open-endedness and closure (A tricky balance to find!).

While I walked away with new writing skills, the real takeaway was that I didn’t have to be perfect. Here’s the story:

My writing instructor was (and still is) brilliant: sharp, witty and unafraid to tell you when you should cut a word, sentence or section. Every week, she’d send out thought-provoking announcements, actively participate in our discussion boards and give lots of feedback on my writing homework. It was clear why she was so well-published and regarded – she was a dream come true! 

The second week into my studies, I saw one of her posts had two typos in it. I thought, Huh. Maybe she was rushing? Perhaps it was a tough week? wasn’t judging her; it was more like curiosity and a bit of tenderness toward her. When I make a typo, I can’t help but beat myself up. Danielle, how could you? What will people think? You’re a writer. You’re a professor. You should be better than this. I didn’t want the same self-annihilating mindset for this amazingly talented woman whom I deeply respected. 

Week three rolled around and I saw another typo, and then another, and another. Only little errors, a missing word here and there, maybe a word lacking its apostrophe. The mistakes weren’t distracting, just subtle enough to notice.

Despite these small blunders, her feedback remained top notch – supportive yet critical. I found this a bit perplexing. With such credible work, why would she be making these errors? But over the weeks, as I received valuable guidance regularly, it finally dawned on me: My instructor knows her talents and her strengths. She’s confident in the value of her words and knows she doesn’t need to be perfect to be of great service.

I thought about the freedom this instructor must have felt when she didn’t over-edit her words. I thought about the extra time she gained by choosing not to worry about a missing word here or there. And I thought about how our perceived mistakes can be a gift to others.

I’m taking my instructor’s gift and am applying it to my writing now too, so if you happen to come across any grammatical errors within these newsletters, I want you to know it’s a sign of my confidence.

With that, have fun making mistakes.  

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Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you along your ‘I don’t have to be perfect’ journey: “I value learning more than I value being right.

PPS – Does it feel like your need for perfection controls your time and energy? Spend a few minutes journaling. Here’s a prompt: What would life feel like if you released yourself from perfectionism? What would you be able to accomplish if you adopted a ‘done and not perfect’ mentality?

Author: Danielle Clark

Dr. Danielle Clark is a witty heart-centered millennial. She wears many hats in this beautiful + crazy thing we call life. She is a proud wife, and cat, dog and human mama who works as a psychic medium, intuitive life coach, spiritual teacher and business professor. Dr. Danielle’s life work is focused on helping people heal from self-judgement, trauma and grief so that they can release their suffering and tap into the highest version of themselves. Danielle’s been blessed to do that for herself and that’s why she’s made it her mission to pass along her wisdom to others. Danielle is from just north of Boston. She currently lives in the Tampa Bay area. She believes with a little love, grace and humor anything is possible. She invites you to join her blog Onwards at drdanielleclark.com and to connect with her on social media.

2 thoughts on “Expect more typos from me”

  1. Dr. Clark, I am still in the process of “releasing myself from perfectionism,” but I can honestly say that the entire course of my life would be different if I had started sooner. I trust that God’s plan and timeline for me are better than mine, so it’s worked out better anyway, but there are opportunities I missed out on because I couldn’t get it all done, and I couldn’t get it all done because everything had to be perfect. So I very much agree with your post.

    Your affirmation made me think of the following proverbs:
    A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you;
    the wise, when rebuked, will love you.
    Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will gain in learning.
    Proverbs 9:8-9

    Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom for the future.
    Proverbs 19:20

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