In my freelance career – pitching articles and essays to various publications – I have discovered that some writers and editors don’t really want to hear, see or discuss the “F Word” – Failure. It connotes dissatisfaction, lack of hope, lack of persistence, goals not being met, and might be the precursor to a whiny diatribe about why one can’t succeed.
But I think we need to discuss failure. It happens to all of us. It’s happened to me more times than I can count: not yet securing an agent, not yet securing publication by a traditional publisher (or an independent publisher for that matter), pitches and queries to magazines being rejected. And it’s happened over and over again. But…I still keep going. Through my failures, I have learned how to be more successful, how to do things better, how to refine my craft.
I know there are a lot of other writers out there just like me, who’ve had a more difficult time than most. It’s wonderful to read about the successes of my fellow authors on my organizations’ Facebook pages. It’s great to hear about someone’s first query for their debut novel landing them an agent and a book deal. But at the same time, it’s painful. I offer sincere congratulations to them, but at the same time ask: What am I doing wrong? Am I the only one in my several organizations who’s had such a hard time?
The answer is no, I’m sure I’m not the only one. And I think those of us who haven’t yet reached our goals are comforted with the knowledge that we have kindred spirits within our organizations. Writers who have gone through the same grueling trials and tribulations, and still keep going. Hope and persistence will eventually get us where we want to be.
So the next time you read a post about a fellow author getting an agent, or a new book deal (or several), or experiencing the pleasure of an editor’s deadline (I would love to have an editor’s deadline for novel revisions), just keep in mind that we’ll get there too – our journey is just taking the scenic route. You’re not alone!
Here is what I’ve learned:
- Although failure hurts, it is just the means to an end. We learn and keep improving, and never give up hope.
- With persistence, our failures will finally evolve into success.
- Don’t be hesitant to talk about it. You’re not the only one (although so many times it feels like it).
- DO. NOT. QUIT.
More to come…