Failure?

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford.

This has to be one of the easiest quotes I’ve found so far to relate to writing! Read on and see if you agree.

In my last post I asked what it means to you, as a writer, to have success or to be successful. Is it publishing a novel? Finishing one? What defines success to you? Every answer is a correct one because every writer is unique.

Failure, I feel, is the same. Just as every writer defines their success individually, I think  we define our failures in the same manner. For instance, if I enter a contest and don’t win it, isn’t that generally considered a failure? I failed at winning. But what if I told you I didn’t  get the overall win, but that the editor who scored me liked my premise so much she asked for a full manuscript? Wouldn’t that negate the idea that I’d failed?

To take that thought further, I submit the manuscript only to have it sent back to me with the explanation, “you need to do certain things to this before it will be acceptable for publication,” and then the editor details what I need to do for satisfaction. I failed at getting that story published as it was originally penned, but now I’ve been given the opportunity to revise it, to make it better, with the thought that if I do, it may be good enough to be published. So again I failed, but I was given an opportunity to succeed. Hence, the above quote.

I consider something as a failure when I haven’t seen it to fruition. When I haven’t finished a story. I can make excuse after excuse why I didn’t complete it, but the end result is the same. I failed to give full birth to an idea that appeared promising. I also consider it a failure if I don’t accept opportunities that present themselves to me. Every writing contest I enter has the possible end result that I will not win, that I will fail. But every contest I enter is filled with learning opportunities. Editors and agents usually make comments about every facet of the piece entered. I would only consider myself as failing if I didn’t take the constructive criticisms and do something positive with them. And the most positive thing I could do would be to make the story better.

I don’t even consider myself as  failure since I’ve never had a fictional adult novel published yet. I would only see myself as failing if I stopped trying to reach that goal.

Any thoughts?

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