We learn by our failures--if we're smart.
If we're not so smart, we're close to the other end of the mental spectrum. Or so Einstein claimed when he said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Granted, he was probably speaking on a scientific level. But the same concept could be applied to life in general.
If I keep planting the same flowers the deer, that daily meander through our yard love to eat, then I'm not using my brain cells to their fullest capacity.
If I go on a diet, except for Oreos and potato chips and pizza, and still can't lose the weight, well, I'm not the smartest dieter, am I?
And if I keep buying the same size shoes that pinch my feet, then by golly I deserve a good foot pinching. Why? Because I'm not learning from my mistakes.
The same applies to our writing. My first book was written in omniscient point of view. As an English major, I'd studied the masters who often wrote using that method. But that was back in the day before editors' and readers' tastes changed. I had to learn from my mistakes and change too.
Over the past four years, different editors have pointed out weaknesses in my writing--God bless them all. My failure to deliver a better quality manuscript became a learning experience at the hand, or pen, or tract changes of teaching editors. By being open-minded, I learned and grew.
I'm always saddened to hear other writers refuse to work with editors to improve a story. Some tend to feel they've written a masterpiece that should not be touched or changed. Yes, there does come a time when an author has to protect her characters, her plot arc and her voice. But, more often than not, if you communicate with your editor, a workable compromise can be made. That teachable moment can still exist. And failures, or weaknesses within the manuscript, can lead to success.
I've done a bit of remodeling at my website to announce my future releases with Loveswept/Random House and Harper Impulse. I hope you'll stop by www.vonniedavis.com and check it out.