Things That Are Not Failure

Failure in writing is not:

  • Still having a lot to learn.
  • Being unsure if you’re good at this or not.
  • When one person doesn’t like your story (It might just not be for them).
  • Making mistakes.
  • Admitting you were wrong, then fixing it next time.
  • Reaching a certain age and not being published yet.
  • Unexpected things getting in the way of writing. Life happens. We cannot predict everything.
  • Watching other people succeed while you don’t.
  • Needing a break now and then.
  • Weeping at how good another writer is and that you’ll never write like that. (Hard truth: you won’t, because you are uniquely yourself)
  • Realizing that a public author life does not or will not make you happy.
  • Deciding this current path is not for you, and picking another one.
  • Finding out your true passion is elsewhere.
  • Writing only for yourself, or only to show friends.
  • Not getting an agent.
  • An editor rejection.
  • Being imperfect.
  • Finding this hard. It is hard.


4 Comments to “Things That Are Not Failure”

  1. “Still having a lot to learn.” That’s the opposite of failure. Anybody who ever thinks they’ve got it all figured out — those are the ones who are in trouble.

    Hemingway, as far as I can determine, got like that late in his life — and his writing suffered. He wrote better when he was very aware of how much he had to learn.

    (To move to movie directors, Robert Altman continued to make great movies — at least from time to time — until the end of his life, at least partly because he continually took on projects in genres which he’d never tackled before. He had a lot to learn, and he liked it that way.)

    As for all the business-related ones? Agents and publishers and editors and “success”? That’s just how writing happens to work at this moment in history.

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