We run away from this word. We refuse to say it out loud, though it plagues us, quietly, in our minds. We bury it. We burn it. We have a huge social problem admitting it.
It is real, however. No matter where we hide, we cannot escape it. This little, forbidden “F” word: failure, will always be there, and if we are not careful, it will devour you.
So why am I talking about this? Seems like an odd topic. Sure. But I’m going to share a little secret, empower myself to say it out loud, and then tear it down.
If you’re following me, you may be aware (or perhaps not) that I self published my first novel in November 2016. I worked hard. I spent countless hours formatting, creating a cover, working with a professional editor (who is amazing and I am honored to call her friend through this process), and setting up all the publishing details. To say I was nervous and excited was an understatement. I wasn’t looking for fame, but I was looking to succeed, otherwise why would any of us do anything?
The book came out, and a handful of family and friends humored me and bought my book. Some even read it, and told me about it, and I love them immensely for it. Being a complete novice, I tried to boost sales, create a presence. BUT… I failed. Yes, I failed. Other than a couple dozen copies, I haven’t sold any more than that. I had hoped more friends and family would snag a copy. That didn’t happen. Books are not as hip as LuLa Roe (not to rag on the leggings) or nail things (I really am not very girly). It happens. I cannot blame the market or atmosphere. This rests solely on me.
And, as much as it hurts (and it does), it is ok.
It is okay to let the Failure Monster slither and curl up to you. You don’t have to let it bite you, or at the very least, you don’t have to let its venom win. There’s never any instant success, or instant gratification despite how our society wants to operate. Just because this first one failed doesn’t mean the next one will, unless I chose to let it devour me. And I could chose that; I could chose to never write another book again. I won’t. It might not even be my last self-publishing attempt.
A great many great people said the dreaded “F” word. They left us with gems that sound like cliches, but as someone who is slowly learning to accept the Failure Monster’s presence, those cliches are true. You just have to keep swimming.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C.S. Lewis
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling