How to Eradicate the Fear of Failure Once and For All

Have you ever planned a wedding or party or event and had something go array? It was a huge deal at the time. You still think about it and shudder.

But you know who noticed it?

Probably no one.

Even if you mentioned it to an individual that attended the debacle do you know what they’d most likely say? Nothing. They would just give you a confused look like they have no idea what you are talking about.

But fear is a pervasive jerk that is bound to show up again and again. It can ruin a future opportunity and also your dreams.

Often, because we don’t succeed or get hurt, we refuse to put ourselves out there again. You wrote a story and no one liked it. What if that happened again? True you might be devastated, but do you know who’s keeping score of every time you fail?

You are.

Ever heard of Thomas Edison? He failed hundreds of times trying to make a light bulb.

Photo Credit: SkydiveAndes via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: SkydiveAndes via Compfight cc

The difference with Edison is that he viewed the task he wanted to complete as a puzzle. He tried to solve it and if it didn’t work he’d try another piece, another method, another direction.

Life is not easy or perfect, so why would we ever believe a novel or starting a business would be a breeze? You’ll launch a business that will have bad days. You’ll start a blog that will not get any traffic. You’ll start a book that will be terrible in the end.

This can lead to a sad place. Where we draw a line in the sand between us and our dreams.

We give our dreams an ultimatum.

I’ll keep blogging if I get one new follower today.

I’ll keep practicing if I get a call this week for another audition.

I’ll try the guitar one more time, but then that’s it.

The key to eradicate the fear of failure is persistence and perspective.

What happens if persevere? If we throw away our fears of failing and go and see what’s on the other side of the hill?

J.K. Rowling kept at it.

Thomas Edison did too.

How about you?

Is Your Book Missing Something?

Have you ever finished a short story or novel and after reviewing it thought hey, wait a minute, it’s missing that thing. You don’t know what that thing is. It’s just not there. And it can be as frustrating as a strange smell in your house that you cannot locate or understand what is causing it. Then you remember the banana your two year old walked away with the other day and you don’t remember it being in their hand when they came back in the room.

Anyway, the thing, let’s come back to it. After pouring over your recent masterpiece you realize it has no flavor or omph or the secret ingredient that old Italian lady knows for her marinara sauce. It just does not explode on your literary taste buds or get the vote of confidence from your peers you hoped to receive.

I’ll tell you what was missing from my book. Tension and conflict.

Get back here!

I’m sure some of you reading this have felt the same way. And knowing what it is and weaving it back into your story can be as painful and annoying as Peter Pan trying to catch and sew his shadow back on.

If you cannot tell what your book lacks, my guess is that it is probably some mechanical piece of storytelling. My advice to help you find this elusive thing is to ask someone you trust to read it. If you don’t have a writers group, I’m sure you know someone who is an avid reader intelligent enough to understand what needs to be sprinkled in. Be brave. Someone has to read it someday if you are going to be an author.

If you find yourself in this position don’t despair. Don’t give up. Keep reviewing and keep digging. Don’t look for the easy way to publish. You won’t be satisfied with that ending. Put it aside if you have to and come back to it later. After all, a simple steak can be great. But a steak marinated for two days, rolled in a spice blend, and then grilled to perfection will always be better.



The 47 Endings of Hemingway

It is a myth that writing comes out perfectly the first time. I don’t think I have ever heard of a writer penning a novel, posting it, and mailing or emailing it off to be printed. I discard and rework almost every part of my writing. Most of the time if I do not like a chapter I rewrite it entirely. I have several drafts of all of the chapters in my book. If I were to go as far as forty seven drafts of a single chapter, I might just have to give up. However, that is exactly what Hemingway did, on ONE novel.

A Farewell to Arms is not my favorite novel. In fact, I am not a huge Hemingway fan at all. His writing is brilliant, but his stories are far to bleak for me. Not that I despise bleakness, my novel ends quite awfully, but its hard to take at times when real life is just as dark.

I wanted to link a post to the article about the forty seven endings to remind the writer how much we have to give to finish well. How much the writer must persevere. How much the writer must refine and how much writing is not just about getting the grammar right.

Find sometime to write today.