This clip is relevant to today’s subject!
Failure’s a thing, right?
A dirty, rotten, horrible robber who shows up to knock you down and take your wallet. You’re not expecting this assault against your person, and yet it comes like a tornado through your psyche, uprooting all the positive feelings and tearing down all the sensitive barriers you’ve built up.
I received my first 1-Star rating on The Recluse and the Runaway this past week. It was via Goodreads, a random person I don’t know who didn’t leave a review, just a star rating. I have had people poorly react to stories I’ve written, but this one is public, for all the world to see. What was it about my cute little novella that turned her against it? I’ll probably never know, but it left me feeling a series of complex emotions that I am still working my way through.
I failed to meet this person’s expectations. That of course is going to happen eventually. The more widespread I manage to make my name as an author, the more people I will disappoint.
But is that truly a bad thing? I didn’t rage against this person when it happened. I considered it. I pondered and wondered and laundered the idea over and over, trying to decide what it really meant. I know I have a special story in Recluse/Runaway, but that doesn’t mean it will be universally loved. People will love it, or hate it, or anything in between.
There is this conception of a happy life as a series of successes and good choices that permeates our culture. You work hard, have fun, get married, find a job you enjoy, raise kids, etc. Life isn’t the reward at the end of each struggle; it’s the many failures that must come before each triumphant success. Life is a series of failures punctuated by finally getting it right sometimes.
You need failure to grow. You need failure to learn who you really are and who you’re capable of becoming.
If you’re afraid to try because you think you’ll fail, then you’ve already lost. Embrace failure, use it to improve. Become better than you were before.
And always remember to write the hell on.