Embracing failure

In theory, I love the concept of failure. Perfection leaves me cold. Where there is a trail of untarnished perfection, you are often likely to find a life devoid of risk.

In theory, I know that failure shouldn’t be something to be afraid of.

And then there is the reality.

I spent a large portion of my first thirteen years writing stories. Up until that point I was a consistent child – all I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’ was write. And then for some reason, I stopped. My pen didn’t touch a page for fifteen years.

On a silent retreat 18 months ago I realised that writing is still at the heart of who I am. I find it frustrating and incredibly difficult at times, but I love it and know that without it there is a part of me that isn’t being expressed.

I decided to take it up again and wrote the first few chapters of a book. In the words of Ernest Hemingway “The first draft of anything is shit.” And it really was. I became so overwhelmed by the possibility of writing an entire first draft that…well, could have been written by a ten year old on a sugar-high, that I gave up half way through chapter five.

In my head I’m a great novelist. If I actually try it out in the real world, I may find out that I’m not. It’s hard to keep fooling yourself when the harsh glare of your failure informs you otherwise. Dreaming, rather than actually trying, is a safe bet because you can control the outcome and avoid falling short of your own self-belief.

But.

This year I’m going to try to write a book. The end result might be the literary equivalent of a drunk penguin on a unicycle, but my fear will just have to deal with it. This is happening.

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About spindlespace

Life for me is a series of thoughts, questions, and amusing disasters. Read about them all here... View all posts by spindlespace

2 responses to “Embracing failure

  • Seth

    Do it! My novel completely sucks and it was totally worth it!

  • Sarah

    Absolutely! Make it happen, Rach. But I do think it is so important to allow yourself to have dreams. One of my fave quotes is by Anatole France: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” When I stop dreaming a part of me withers away. This year I too am going to put time and effort into pursuing my dreams. Here’s to 2012 being a great and fruitful year! xxx

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