Friday, November 25, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 5

Failure is hard but it's part of the writing process. Once we accept failure as truly par for the course, we will fear it less and not allow it to define us. This applies to all life, not just writing.

In light of the recent election here in the US, I read this article in Forbes Magazine, Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump the White House. This article ties in perfectly with today's thoughts on overcoming failure. In the quest for the White House, the article tells us that, behind the scenes, Jared Kushner tried many avenues and social media tactics to promote his father-in-law's presidential campaign, quickly halting what didn't work and putting more energy into what did work.

Did you read that? He quickly halted what didn't work. This means not everything he did worked. This means he failed along the way, but still saw success in the end. The one thing he did was constantly take risks. Some risks panned out and some didn't, but he took the risks.

That's today's tip: Take risks. 

On a clearly much smaller scale than a presidential election campaign, when I started my Writing for Publication classes in our local Community Education program, I did not get enough people signed up to hold even one class. The next semester, four people signed up, but only three showed up. But, I kept putting it out there. I kept offering the classes. After a few semesters of not getting enough interest to hold the classes, I suddenly had five students. Then six, then nine...then a dozen! Then other districts began calling, wanting the classes in their districts. That led me to branch out and offer more courses, including e-publishing. I saw success. I took a risk and it paid off, but it didn't pay off on day one. It took persistence and patience, not only on my part but on the part of the director of the Community Education program.I tweaked my class description in the school's newsletter, trying different ways to promote the class.

I believed in the class and knew people would benefit from it if I could get it in front of them. This paid off when my most famous student, Amanda Hocking, took the class and saw great success in e-publishing the following year.

So, take risks. Realize what works and what doesn't, then keep taking risks.
You won't know whether something works or not until you try.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 4

The inevitable failure we face as writers should not be what defines us as writers. We write, we fail, we write some more. I never really consider failure something to slow me down. By failure, I'm talking about failure to see publication. We can be highly successful writers if all we do is write; if that's our only motivation. But, getting published is another story and we all face the failure of not getting published, of being rejected by a publisher.

I was recently asked to write an article on a specific topic. We signed a contract and I wrote the article. In the meantime, the publisher changed staff and the editor I'd been working with was no longer there. Even though I had a contract, they rejected my article. I'm still going to get paid for writing it, but they are not going to publish the article.

I believe in this article; I am looking for another outlet in which to publish it. I've already sent it to another editor. This leads me to the 4th part of overcoming failure:

Realize your own Potential

While this may appear to echo appreciating your talent, which I blogged about here, it's deeper. Many of my writing students look at the list of names of successful writers at the beginning of my writing course and tell me they could never be like them. My response is a resounding, "Why not? Someone has to be the next famously successful  author - and you are someone!"

No one person is more important than another. Success is not sitting back waiting for anyone specific. You get to decide your success. You get to determine your future in writing Once you realize your potential, you will look at success differently. Even if you have never thought you could be successful, realizing your potential will open success up for you in ways you never expected.

Realizing your potential is key. Realize it, act on it, success follows. Every time.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.