The dangers of correcting your course.


I read some of my favorite comic strips online at http://www.gocomics.com/ I’ve started to read some of the comments to see what other readers think, too, and occasionally to join in the conversations.

Last week, there was a brief running series in ‘Drabble’ with Norman trying to adjust the clock in the family car to daylight savings time. And one of the readers mentioned a clock that was built into a car that he’d owned.

This clock, it seemed, was designed to automatically correct every time you adjusted it – if you set it forward, it would calculate how much time it must have lost, and start running faster. If you set it back, it would start running slower.

That sounds like a good idea at first. But apparently, there was no way to tell the clock that you were making an adjustment NOT because it had been running fast or slow, but simply because you wanted to start keeping a different time – with the beginning or end of daylight savings time every year, for instance, or when travelling across a time zone line. If you set it forward in the spring, the darn thing ran very fast for a while – until you managed to get it back on track by setting it back a few minutes at a time. And the same thing when you set it backward in the fall.

To me, that sounds like a good metaphor for how I tend to autocorrect for the opinions I receive when I’m getting critiques. If I don’t throw out a criticism entirely, I’m liable to give it too much credence, and to try to apply it as some general rule to everything I write in the future, even if it doesn’t really apply.

Of course, you have to correct your course based on what you’ve learned a little, or you’ll repeat mistakes over and over again. But it probably pays off to be hesitant rather than impulsive with that. What do you think?

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2 Responses to The dangers of correcting your course.

  1. Ah, good point. I’m working through an R&R now from a publisher and sometimes it makes me smile (and not in a happy way) because this particular project’s had a lot of feedback, so some of the comments aren’t new. And are wanting me to change things back to where I was before other feedback I received. Ugh!

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  2. Great metaphor. It’s so easy to overcorrect something.

    Like

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