Failure

Failure is a funny thing.  But what makes it “funny” is how each of us perceives it.  Some people feel there’s no such thing; like in Weight Watchers.  They have a saying that gets used a lot:

There is no failure, only feedback

Which I can definitely agree with.  Just like there aren’t really any “bad” or “good” experiences in life.  Those are just labels we attach to situations in order to know how we feel about them.  And quite honestly, there’s not really any reason to feel a particular way about the things that happen to us.  But we as a collective society wouldn’t know how to behave if we didn’t know how we felt about something.

So, when we aren’t successful in an endeavor, we feel like we’ve failed.  After all, grammatically speaking, the opposite of succeeding is failing.  And we’ve grown up hearing that failing is such a horrible thing.  If you get bad grades in a subject, you can fail that class, which many people take to mean that you’re stupid.  Well, being thought stupid is even worse than failing, so we do our best not to fail, which often turns into a fear of either failing or appearing stupid.  Many people then avoid even trying out of fear of failing or being thought dumb.

But there are others who think it’s impossible to fail as long as you keep trying:

Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.
~ Chinese Proverb

And I can agree with that, too.  After all, life isn’t REALLY over until you’re dead.  And until that happens, anything and EVERYthing else could still happen, if you work long and hard enough at it.  Take Thomas Edison, for example, and his famous quote about creating the lightbulb:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

He’s got my vote for most persistent person in the world, because I’m not sure I’d be willing to make 10,000 attempts at ANYTHING before giving up.  Hell, any time I would ask a guy out on a date and get rejected, it took me five years or more before I could gather the courage to ask another guy out.  At that rate, I would’ve died of old age before even getting close to the numerous attempts on Mr. Edison’s part.  But still, I didn’t give up.  It took me a loooooooong time to summon my bravery, but I eventually did it.

The same is true with my writing.

I’ve been writing about my protagonist, Tabitha Patterson for about five years now.  I finished the first draft of the first novel a year after I began, and made a few revisions shortly thereafter; each time hoping it was the last one.  I even sent it out to some agents, probably SEVERAL revisions before it was ready, but I didn’t know that at the time.  So each rejection or critique I received stabbed a little bit and hurt.  Sometimes it hurt so bad that I didn’t write for months at a time, not to mention the 18 month hiatus I took while planning and executing my wedding.

THEN there was the critique that caused me to rethink and rewrite almost the entire novel.  Sludging through that was painful, let me tell you.

So why haven’t I thrown in the towel yet?  Why don’t I think of my writing attempt(s) as failures?  For several reasons:

  1. I’ve met and discussed writing with several other authors–many of whom are published–and have learned that it sometimes takes 10 years (or even 10 books) before you get published.
  2. With each story (or blog) I write, I become a better writer.  Just like learning to play an instrument (or sport), practicing something strengthens that particular muscle.
  3. I have several stories inside of me.  If I didn’t write them down, I might eventually go crazy.

Hopefully it won’t take me 10,000 books before being published, but as long as I don’t give up, I don’t believe I will have failed.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 15:53:31

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! What a post! Alyx! I believe that one day you’ll read your own words with a smile knowing that you’ve made it and your book will be out there. I personally can’t wait!
    I’m so happy that you’ve posted your need for the herb tea few years back. I don’t even visit expats website, I don’t have time to chat, have a fb….but I’m so happy to know you and it’s always a pleasure to read your meaningful posts in your blog. YOU ROCK!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 15:56:20

      Awww, thanks, Katka! I’m VERY glad you responded to my request! I’ll have to make another trip out there so I can see you & hug you again. 🙂 And thanks for the words of encouragement. You’ll be one of the first to know when I get published, my dear. 😀

      Reply

  2. kerryemckenna
    Mar 02, 2014 @ 10:52:04

    Not only do you have to write thoses books inside you, some of us out here have got to read them! You go, girl!!

    Reply

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