Hi folks, I'm continuing my series about the key to writing success. I'm skipping the obvious keys like a good attitude, overflowing confidence, tenacious spirit, hard working, self-educating, a big time reader, loner ability, a happy reviser, works well with criticism, and a team builder.
I had the opportunity to hear poet Carrie Fountain speak at a Writer's League of Texas Thursday meeting. And she discussed failure as a necessary skill for any writer. Ah, I thought, failure is one of the keys. Many recognize this. David Bayles' book Art & Fear also wraps around the idea of making ordinary art and explores why art doesn't get made, touching on what makes artists give up or fail.
So let's dive into to failure. You must learn how to fail with excellence. This is the bottom line. I mean everyone is all about success in America. Be number one, be the best, first is best, yes, the rhetoric has been stamped into us since we could toddle across the floor.
This is what you must examine: if failure is breeding anxiety, producing tears or sending you to bed with a huge pillow to hug, if failure is making you put away projects, if failure is getting into your head and messing with the work, if failure is keeping your from taking risks, if failure is freezing you out with blaming, fear or anger, you need to work on failing. Failure should work for you and not against you.
So here are some strategies to help you fail with grace. Here is a handy video to watch from Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph. D., speaking about the need for grit to find lasting success. Failure digs grit into the fabric of your soul. A very good thing. When you fail, celebrate the new grit you have acquired.
Use failure. Failure is more information about your weaknesses. When you fail, you now have data about your weaknesses. It may take some time to figure out what to do with data but with applied study you will find ways to make course corrections to reach you specific goals. Disconnect your value as a human being from your failure.
Knocking of all negativism and framing failure in a positive light will help too. Accepting being less than you wanted in a gracious manner is more that you can add to your failing practice. Failure is a great reason to be kind to yourself. Failure is a reason to reach out and get more support. Think about what you can do to improve how your fail.
I want you to get excited about how you are going to handle the next time you fail. Hope this speaks to you and helps you unlock what you are truly capable of doing. Seize the day!