Writing is one long experiment in making a fool of yourself. That's basically what a first draft is. And believe me when I tell you I've gotten really good at it. Here are some of the doozies I've been guilty of. Laugh at my pain.
The decision to put all the dialogue in my first novel in italics
If anybody were to question my decision to shirk basic punctuation rules, I had a defense ready--Cormac McCarthy didn't use quotation marks in The Road. And you know the old adage--if it's OK for a genius, multi-award-winning author, it's OK for me!
Oh, the humanity.
The worst simile of them all
Particular reverence must be paid to this, the greatest of all horrible similes, from a short story I wrote during my MFA program. I caught a lot of flack for it in workshop and, at the time, I thought it, like, sooooo worked.
We've all got our crutch. Mine happens to be comparing things to sea glass. Like Bubba with his shrimp, I will never grow tired of sea glass. You got your sea glass rivers and your sea glass windows and your sea glass eyes. I have done this in poems, short stories, and novels.
The most redundant sentence ever written
My mom was reading a draft of my most recent WIP and I caught her trying very hard to suppress laughter. What was she laughing at? This piece of dialogue by Angel, my tough girl juvenile delinquent.
My mom said "It doesn't sound bad. It just sounds like it was written by someone who doesn't swear." I don't know what to be more embarrassed about--the awkward swearing or the "Dang, girl!" They're both the epitome of inauthentic voice. At least I didn't have her snap in a Z-formation.
The worst joke ever captured on Microsoft Word
I wrote a scene in my dystopian novel in which the good guys encounter some cannibals. A joke involving the word "coccyx" followed. I'm not proud.
The really good news is that I've proven to myself that really is through mistakes that we learn. If I'd never made these mistakes, I'd still be stuck way back at the beginning. You do get better with time. This is proven by the fact that I couldn't find nearly as many embarrassing things in my more recent writing (and I'm reasonably sure that's not the denial talking!).