failure isn’t fatal


I’m no fan of failure. I’ve known more than a few motivational types who tried to put a positive spin on it. Failure is how you grow, blah, blah, blah.

That may be true, but I’ll tell you something else that’s just as true. Failure sucks. It’s not fun. It doesn’t feel like a ‘growth opportunity’ when you’re in the middle of it. It feels more like ass. (And not in the good way. In the worst possible way. Yeah. Gross.)

In spite of that, failure isn’t generally fatal. Assuming you’re not building bombs or skydiving, the occasional slip-up isn’t going to end your world. When it comes to writing, failure should be expected. You will write drafts that lay there on the page, flat and boring and begging to be trashed. You’ll turn legitimately good story ideas into barely readable dribble. You’ll name one of your characters something like ‘John Everyman’ and have the audacity to pat yourself on the back and think you’re clever.

You will fail.

In writing (and in life–how often do I say that?) failure is a given. And while I’m not a big fan of sugary platitudes about the virtues of failure, there’s still truth in them. Failure isn’t something to aim for, but when you find it (and you will), learn from it.

Really, that’s the best you can do with a shitty situation. Find something good in it. No, it’s not fun to screw up. No one likes embarrassment. None of us woke up this morning hoping, just hoping, that failure would find us today so we could…[insert high-pitched squee] learn something!

But even though you don’t want to fail, and even though it’s admirable to work hard to avoid it, when you miss the mark don’t forget to look around for the lesson. It’s there, always.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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