Sometimes, we meet/discover a writer who is super successful. We think they must have been super lucky, too. Right place, right time and all that. If only we were so lucky!
But what if I told you they’re super successful BECAUSE they failed … A LOT. Seems like an oxymoron, right? Except it isn’t. Many amazing writers are ‘successful failures’.
The above quote is from J K Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech, The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. Being as successful as she is, it’s hard to think of her as a writer who failed. But she did and so have countless other success stories.
Failure Is Not Fatal
Maya Angelou is another amazing writer. She came up against huge obstacles in her life, yet she saw the value of failure. Every time life smacked her down, this courageous woman got right back up. Does failing the most equate with learning the most? Maybe.
I think the key to getting past failure is this … None of us know how long the thorny path is. It could take two years, five years or ten years to become successful. Even then, the thorns are still there … Except now they’re entwined with ‘success flowers’ and the path is a nicer walk!
The Value Of Mentors, Allies & Moral Support
You don’t HAVE to have a mentor, but there’s a reason they play such a big part in The Hero’s Journey. Mentors can be helpers and facilitators in writers’ journeys. Speaking from experience, I can say it definitely helps when dealing with the thorny path. A mentor can guide you and reassure you as you go through your journey:
Creative: The path of thorns leads up a mountain. The prickles are bad enough. I don’t want to fall and hurt myself.
Mentor: You’re not going to see the beautiful view from the ground.
Creative: Okay, I’ll climb a little way … A stone hit me on the head!
Mentor: It’s just a stone.
Creative: Okay, I’ll climb a little more. Hey, a flower! Pretty. I’ll climb some more … ten stones hit me on the head! That’s it! I’m done. Everyone else is lucky. Look how far they’ve climbed. They’re not getting pelted with stones.
Mentor: You can’t see their injuries from down here. I guarantee most of the people up there have not only had stones hit them on the head but have also been smacked in the face with rocks, boulders have almost flattened them, while a flock of angry seagulls pecked at their faces! You have to take what’s thrown at you, all of it, in order to walk the path of success.
So much of the creative life is about being brave and confident. The value of mentors is they can help you achieve this and facilitate your career. They can also console you when you have failed. Most importantly, they can remnind you to get back off your arse and try again!
But you don’t have a mentor? That’s okay. Surround yourself with allies … Writer friends who really ‘get it’. Moral support is so important. Why not join the B2W Facebook group today!
So … how do we succeed?
Yep! By failing. This means you must not fear failure. Embrace it. Small fails. Big fails. Fail at as much as you can because each opportunity needs to be taken. If you don’t take it, there is neither failure or success.
So, keep failing Bang2writers. Before long, like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Failure has no choice but to become success. Here’s some more links on what it takes:
BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. She also dabbles in screenwriting and has won/been shortlisted for several short story/script competitions. Follow Emma as @Emma_Storyteller as she lurks in the shadows, spying on people in the name of inspiration and creativity.