I heard the term “Failing Forward” recently and really loved it. Maybe it’s a term that’s really common and I’m just lame and haven’t paid attention, but whatever, now I know.
I’ve always equated the word “fail” as moving backward, or downward, or stopping completely. But I’ve seen with this whole writing thing how failing can actually bring you forward in many instances. For example, if I’d succeeded in publishing books like I reeealllly wanted to when I first started, I’d be on the world’s worst author list. And yes, there will be people who will say I can qualify as that now–but I’m talkin’ for real, like legitimately the books would be complete garbage.
Because I failed at that first attempt, I investigated the world of online writing classes, tutorials, self-help, and everything else you can imagine. I kept writing stories and some freelance stuff and got an idea for another book. So I wrote it. Then another came, and then I decided to completely re-do World 4 from scratch. So even though it was the first book I wrote, it really was my fourth, considering the current World 4 is not even remotely close to the original.
My other book series got to the point where actual agents showed actual interest in it (Yippee!). But because the traditional publishing avenue moves at a glacial pace, I wanted to bring World 4 our now, get the hang of it all, turn my VERY secret hobby into a legitimate profession.
And boy was it hard to get to this point. The failures I had definitely helped me to get to the point where I could write a readable book. But my biggest hurdle now is my FEAR. I am terrified. Of people not liking it. Of making a fool out of myself. Of the awesome story and characters not getting the attention they deserve. It’s such a cool story, that the number one driving force behind me originally starting to pursue publication was because I couldn’t let my characters sit, sad and unknown and lonely on my computer. I’m not the type to put myself out there with my own accomplishments, and so this has been dang hard. And it’s not going to get easier, which only adds another level of frightening-ness to it.
Having a not-so-fun disease makes it hard to have a “real” office job. Failing in the past has brought me to the place I am now–where I can publish an actual, readable, enjoyable story and call it a job (the best job EVER, in my opinion). All the failures had great timing, considering it led to this publishing experience right when I was about to become a single mom.
In short, if I hadn’t failed, I wouldn’t be where I am. And where I am in regards to novels is so much better than where I was before. There’s going to be some more big-time fails to come, no doubt, but hopefully that means I can keep using it to fail forward. Even if I land flat on my tired face, that’s still moving forward, right?