When you decide you can’t fail

Writers are notoriously pessimistic, and for good reason. It is effing hard to publish a book, no matter which route you take. First you spend months, years, decades even writing a novel, than you edit the hell out of it for more months, years, decades. Then you pick a publishing path and go down it and that, unfortunately can be and often is the most crushing of all.

If it’s your first novel or your second novel or sometimes even your twelfth, well shit, you might have to swallow a nasty big pill that it’s just not that good. And how discouraging is that when you’ve bleed your creative blood into that book for so long?

I did it. I gave up. After I realized the novel I had been writing and editing since college was just not going to get cleaned up like I wanted it to, I had too much other responsibility, I didn’t have any more energy to give it, I puttered around with my plans of being a novelist an obscure dream that might never happen.

I thought about what I would do with my life when my kids went to school. Should I go back to get my Masters? Should I become a family therapist?

Then one day I was riding with my husband, talking about this subject and something came to me. I had a lovely, short, YA fairy tale fantasy that would be perfect for the market right now. And I didn’t have a strong investment in it that would stop me from cutting it to pieces to edit. Then I could self publish and let the card fall where they may.

And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. And the more I wanted it, the more excited I got about it. And the more excited I got, the more I realized that I could finally put aside the things that discouraged me before. I could see this as a learning experience. I could accept all that came with it as a learning experience.

Well, that novel never quite made it to kindle. (or you would see it heavily advertised on this site) but I did learn. I started this blog, which gave me a place to write about writing, which also made me realize I know alot about writing. It also made me realize how much I had to learn and then I went out and learned more.

It connected me to other writers here and on twitter. It gave me access to books and authors I never would have thought to read before. And it strengthened my resolve.

I don’t want to settle. And I will not. Maybe I will go back to school and get my masters. Maybe all the work I’ve done for the current novel I’m pitching will not pay off for a long time. Maybe I need more edits.

But none of that is failure.

A book can survive an infinite number of edits. A story can survive anything. And I have more books in me. Hell I have just waiting to be edited right now.

You can’t fail unless you give up. The options are limitless in the publishing world right now and every writer should ditch their ego and embrace their eventual, inevitable success.


4 thoughts on “When you decide you can’t fail

  1. Reblogged this on Black. Bunched. Mass. Mom. and commented:
    LCW Allingham writes one of my favorite writing blogs. Feeling a little discouraged as I contemplate the direction of my current project, I’m grateful for the timing of this post! Writing feels so impossible. To do it well, to do it *at all*, feels like such a herculean effort, resulting in… nothing? Failure? It’s hard to set aside the perfectionism, the unquenchable need for everything to be wildly successful every single time. But, non-success still results in learning. Learning is essential. Tenacity is, too. I’ve gotta decide that I’m too bold to fail.


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