Learning through Failure
As I write this there are two days left on the free promo for my book Born of Water. I’m still simply riding my first wave of realization that someone out there besides friends and family want to read my book. Hopefully I will hear back from a few people. That would just be . . . stellar.
Oddly when I told a few friends about the number of downloads, they replied that hopefully I’d get a few reviews – good ones. They sounded worried. I think I laughed. Maybe I’m still high on that fragile and fleeting first taste of small success that the potential for a bad review does not worry me. It may happen. It is bound to happen someday. But so what?
I don’t like everything I’ve ever read. I don’t expect to receive universal approval myself. But the concern in my friend’s voices hinted that I’d taken a risk and they worried it could backfire. My dreams of being a writer could be dashed at the gate. To that I have two responses.
The first is I’m bound to screw up. It is a fact that I’ve come to accept. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not using it as an excuse to do sub-par work. Instead, I continue to do the best I can produce acknowledging that I’m going to keep learning. My writing today is far better than it was two years ago. Two years from now the things I don’t even know I’m doing wrong with uploading to Kindle, marketing and such will have improved.
Would I improve if I just kept my writing to myself? Maybe, slowly. But I’d have missed the opportunity to hear back from other people who may like my writing or have tips on how to do better. And boy would I miss that zing of energy that comes with a tiny bit of success. The risk of rejection seems so small when compared with finding someone to share ideas with.
The second response I have is no matter what happens, a good review or bad, my reaction to it is mine to determine. I could flip out because someone doesn’t like me. I could learn from their insight. I could ignore it. I don’t think I’d give up writing because someone doesn’t like what I write. Actually, I’m sure I wouldn’t. I’ve been in writing classes where my work was pulled apart and my fantasy story was being held up against a majority of biographers. It wasn’t pretty. I went home at first upset. Then I pulled out my favorite book and started comparing my word use and sentence structure to them. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned I wanted to keep writing too, no matter what.
To anyone out there who is wavering on that decision to do something a little risky, I say take the leap and try it. It might not work out. But hopefully you’ll learn something from it. You might find a new opportunity that you would never have considered if you hadn’t tried. And who knows, it might just come up roses.
- A Lesson on Failure (michaelaepstein.wordpress.com)