Happy “Accidents”

“Accidents” with fruitful outcomes abound in the world of science:

Vulcanized rubber was discovered by accident by Goodyear.

So was the electric current by Galvani.

So was practical photography by Daguerre.

So was penicillin by Fleming.

And so was America by Columbus.

Happy accidents are also part of literary lore:

Junot Diaz “discovered” the structure for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in a nonfiction book he was reading.

E. L. Doctorow came up with the idea for “Ragtime” when a bout of writer’s block drove him to think about the Victorian house he was in.

Robert Carl happened to meet the brother of Lyndon Johnson on a busy city street and finally convinced him to do a breakthrough interview.

In my own writing life, I’ve experienced many “accidental” discoveries that have encouraged me and enriched my work. I’ve come to see these happenings, not as accidents in the true sense, but as the happy fruit of hard work that somehow results in gifts from the universe—an intriguing idea, an insight into a character, a fragment of formation that comes my way unexpectedly. Accident or gift—it really makes no difference to me. I happily embrace whatever enlivens my writing.

How about you? Have you experienced any happy “accidents” in your work? I’d love to hear about them and share them as we all write on!

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About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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