One of the first rules of writing is to find a quiet, comfortable location free of distractions. One of the last rules is to throw out all the rules and do whatever works best for you. That’s the wonderful freedom of writing.
I do my best writing when I’m nowhere near the computer. Or pen and paper. Or stick in the dirt…. Whatever. Driving, watching a sunset, staring at the ceiling, doing dishes all frequently produce some of my best words. I do my best thinking when I don’t focus too hard, when there is distraction. When I am in front of the computer, I always have the TV on for background noise.
Last night I was happily typing away, adding another scene to the novel I’m attempting to write, when something on the TV caught my ear. I do not know the program, who was speaking, or even the context of the conversation, but I heard these words, “It’s OK to let other people be wrong.”
This was one of those rare life changing moments. Revelation. It’s ok to let other people be wrong. Translation: you do not need to correct people!
This statement might evoke a simple ‘doh!’ from most of you, but it was earthshattering news to me. I have been guilty of chronic correcting! I am deeply embarrassed. The number of people I must have annoyed and irritated!
I’d like to say that my heart was always in the right place, my intentions were always good, but truth is I never gave it a second thought.
In my attempt to be a person of integrity, it has always been important to me that folks could count on my word. If I said I would do something, I got it done. If I spoke, my words were accurate and true. If asked something I was unsure of, I would prefer to not answer than to guess and be wrong. Because of this, I’ve always welcomed correction. I’ve never viewed it as criticism, rather simply giving me correct information so going forward, I could be accurate too.
Because I felt this way, I’ve always assumed everyone else has too. Well you know what they say about the word ‘assume’. Break it down… ass/u/me. I realize now that this is a case where ‘do unto others…’ definitely does not apply.
Hearing this simple anonymous statement on late-night TV, I now understand. I apologize to everyone I have offended with my unsolicited ‘information’ and ‘help’. I now understand it is not my responsibility, is in fact is very inappropriate, to correct… anyone.
It’s OK to let other people be wrong.