A couple of weeks ago, my agent, Molly Jaffa, and I were asked to present a panel at an SCBWI meeting. We were to discuss the porcess of finding an agent and developing the agent/client relationship. Molly and I sat down at breakfast and revisited the events that brought us together. As we started talking about the process (which, by the way, was a straight-up cold query letter), I saw a lot of things that I did wrong, things that I would not suggest to anyone who is going through the query process. In spite of myself, the result was positive.
The moral of the story is that making mistakes is part of the process. Don’t let fear of making mistakes stop you from doing what you need to do. If there is any guarantee in life, it this: You will make mistakes. So expect to mess up royally from time to time and be ready to learn from it, or fix it, or try again, or whatever it takes to turn that mistake into a stepping stone.
Take sky-diving and brain surgery– those things have to be done perfectly the first time. But writing is not one of those things. One of the characters in my book, FREAKLING, says this: “There are no mistakes, only rehearsals.” I truly believe that.