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Motivational Mondays: 10% Rule

During my visit to Reno, a friend of mine shared a sweet little rule he runs his business by. It’s the 10% rule. He owns and operates a sign shop. The rule states that about 10% of the time an error will occur. The machine will cut wrong. One of the artists will make a typo. Things happen. And when they do, rather than get upset, my friend files it under the 10% rule. So long as the margin of error hovers around 10%, he knows the business is running well.

I love this idea. I don’t know about you but I am beyond hard on myself. You should see the flogging scars along my back! Whether it’s as small as typing “right” instead of “write” or as big as “your post has not published as scheduled,” perfectionists like can’t stomach making mistakes.

However, under my friend’s brilliant 10% rule, I can allow myself blunders. I can go in to face the blank page with room for error. Not huge error. Not 1500 words of error and stink. But 10% fixable later permission to fail that allows my mind to relax and creativity to flow.  I don’t know if I can maintain 10% every day. Some days it feels more like a 90% error rate, but if I strive toward almost perfect rather than totally perfect, suddenly I feel freed up.

Hey, much like normal, perfect is pretty boring. Don’t you think? Maybe we all can use the 10% rule. Not just in our writing, but in life in general. In selecting the right shoes for that dress. In cooking a mouthwatering meal. In finishing the laundry on time. If we do, by what percent will our stress levels plummet? For me, it’s  nearly 100%.

How about you?

:} Amber Scott


About Amber Scott Project

Amber Scott writes romance across time and genre with three things in common: fate, love and complications. You can find her erotica titles at

4 responses »

  1. I think I could probably use a 10% rule. I tend to scold myself when I screw up. Maybe if people adopted this, they’d go a little easier on themselves and each other.

    Great idea:)

  2. I live by Nora Roberts’ statement that you can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank page.

    Really, I think most authors are too hard on themselves. They’re called “drafts” for a reason. Editing will happen regardless, so give yourself permission to stink, to just toss something down there to get going. You can always cut it later.

    BTW, I agree with the 10% rule, too. I agree with anything that helps you to relax and write, not stress, fret and block. (Which is why I find wine, beer and spirits to be so helpful…LOL)

  3. I also could use the 10% rule.

  4. Donna Del Grosso

    I like the 10% rule too. And “Give yourself permission to suck” is another rule I love….
    I’d rather suck 10% of the time then do nothing 100% of it, that’s for sure!


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