An MFRW Author Post – And check out the other blogs on the hop!
It is intrinsic to human nature to want to be good at things. Of course it is. Why on earth would we want to fail, especially in front of people we respect or even worse, in the public eye? Often times, however, wanting to be good at something doesn’t actually make it so. In fact, it rarely ever does. Sure, we can be blessed with certain skills, predisposed to baseball or singing or writing, but it is with great dedication, practice, and effort that we become really good.
A fear of failure can keep us from ever taking that first step–and I refuse to be the reason why I don’t succeed.
Writing is hard. Getting rejection after rejection, slow sales, reviews that make you cringe, it’s all hard. And while I’m beyond passionate about what I do, while I wake up every morning knowing that writing is my calling and my future vocation, I would not continue to face up to every single setback if I didn’t believe it was putting me just a little closer to some version of success.
I don’t have blind faith in myself. I’ve failed and changed course far too many times for that. But I have to believe, have to assume, that I am going to make it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even try.
The reason this works is because I allow my definition of success to change. If I say ‘I’m only a writer if I make _____ list’ then I can easily fail to achieve that goal and consider myself a failure overall. If I say ‘I’m only a writer if I write 10,000 words a week’ then I can routinely fall behind and get into a destructive cycle of guilt that prevents me from actually getting any writing or branding completed.
Instead, I have closer to home goals and big, ever-changing goals. I have goals that include hitting a certain word count for the day or goals that include tackling a big project. I have goals that might one day mean hitting those best-seller’s lists but aren’t dependent on them. I have lots of goals and I allow my goals to change.
And because of that, I believe I will be successful. Failure to achieve one of these goals doesn’t mean failure, it means I have to try a different approach or maybe focus my efforts elsewhere. It means, as Edison once said, I have found a way that doesn’t work.
There are things that I’m afraid of–ones I haven’t tried because I’m worried about making a fool of myself. I never played soccer or volleyball. I haven’t been rock climbing or skiing.
But there are other things that I’m not very good at that I love anyway. I paint fat watercolor birds, I run on the treadmill, I bake bread. When I first started practicing yoga five years ago, I wasn’t very good at it, and now I can’t picture my life without it. Taking that leap–and being prepared to work hard and learn all the ways that don’t lead to success, that is what makes the difference.
It is a cliche, but it’s true. The only true failure is the failure to keep trying. As a writer with goals of success–whatever that success might look like–I have no plans to stop.