On Writing

When a Mistake Can Be a Blessing

I walked over to my local coffeehouse yesterday (Mystic Mocha) and on the way home saw a weathered bench that I thought would make an interesting photo. I pulled out my iPhone and snapped. I knew the photo would need cropping and editing, but I was pretty sure I could make something of it. The unedited version is at the top of this page.

When I was putting the phone back in my pocket I accidentally hit the button and it took another photo. Totally unplanned, simply a mistake. But when I got home and checked it out I was shocked at how much I liked it. Unlike the bench shot, it was dynamic and a bit mysterious. I’m not going to do any editing to it because I like it so much. What do you think?


So what does this have to do with writing? I realized that – like the accidental photo – I’ve stumbled into projects, phrases, ideas that initially looked like mistakes but later turned into something quite wonderful. For today, how about flipping your writing ideas on their ears and seeing how a new perspective might create a “mistake” that’s far better than anything your logical mind could have imagined?

Leave a comment, please. What do you think of this concept?


  • Starlene Stewart

    I really like the accidental photo. I recently moved into my retired supervisor’s office and bought myself a five piece photo mural for my wall since I don’t have a window, like I did in my old office. I cannot recall buying myself anything like this. Not even for my home. I just don’t get into decorating. Anyway, the mural is a field of lavender with mountains in the background, with a beautiful sunset, blue sky and big fluffy clouds. It sparked an idea for a romance series. I’ve been wanting to write romance (clean) for almost 2 decades, and just finished the first book (novelette ~27K words) in what I hope will be a series. So although purchasing the mural wasn’t a mistake, it did lead to something that I think is very wonderful.

  • Linda Appleby

    Enjoyed both photos. Surely each could tell a story! Your perspective is one that makes me reconsider and better value all my experiences. Thanks.

  • Nancy

    Hi Linda,
    You’re right – both do tell a tale, don’t they? Which is interesting as I’ve been worrying a little about having an idea for a short story! Thank you for helping ME reconsider!

  • Nancy

    No, purchasing it wasn’t a mistake but it definitely did lead to an unexpected result, didn’t it! I’m so happy to hear how the mural inspired you – I use photos so often to help me over rough places in my work. Don’t know what I’d do without them 🙂 Thanks for leaving this comment. Looking forward to reading your romance.


  • Wendy Yohe

    I love this idea! We all need a little change in perspective from time to time, don’t we?

    As a photographer, I love to give kids their own cameras so they can take photos from their perspective. We did that with our son on some of our family trips. The photos he brought back were very interesting. I really enjoyed seeing the world the way he sees it.

    Both of your photos have a story in them. I can’t wait to see what you create!

  • Nancy

    I love your comment Wendy – and the idea of giving your son his own camera. Different perspectives – whether photography or writing – is such a treasure.


  • Kathryn Kistner

    Nancy, both are lovely pictures. The second one reminds me of the backgrounds you see when people place quotes by famous writers on a graphic that shows up on their website, or on Pinterest.

    Depending on the quote, the trendy shoe can stay or go. 😉

    So… how are YOU going to use the picture, Nancy? LOL!

  • Nancy


    I have no idea how I’m going to use them! But I love the idea of using the sidewalk for a quote image. Thanks!

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