Epic Fail

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

37. What to do if you’ve failed at the goals you set

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve just gotta get back on the horse”? If you have, you should understand what I’m about to talk about. If you haven’t, what rock have you been living under for the past hundred years?

Everyone fails at goals. Maybe not all the time, maybe some more often than others, but everyone at some point in time fails at a goal they’ve set for themselves. It’s the nature of the situation that even if we have all the best of intentions, things will go wrong, other issues will intrude, and any number of problems will arise to keep us from reaching the end of the line. Maybe it’s something we can’t control, like the fact that our new job requires us to work 70-hour weeks and we can’t work on our goal if we want to be able to eat and sleep as well. Maybe it’s something absolutely controllable, like being just plain lazy. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is. It doesn’t make you a better or worse failure. Failure is failure.

But failure is also just a chance to start over again. Failure shows us what we’ve done wrong, which issues we failed to take into consideration, and what we have to change to do better next time. If you’re a really optimistic type, failure might even be motivation to try harder. If you’re the pessimistic type, things might be a little more difficult, but the same points still apply.

And excellent example of failure and moving on from it is rejection in writing. An author can put their heart and soul – and a ridiculous number of work-hours – into a manuscript, only to have it rejected by the publisher…and then rejected by another…and another…and another. Regardless of how good a manuscript may be, it is almost certain that the author will receive multiple rejections before (hopefully) receiving a publication offer. This situation really defines the whole “get back on the horse” thing because if these authors were to just give up, where would we be? Were you aware that J.K. Rowling received 12 rejections for the first Harry Potter book before finally getting published? We all know now that the Harry Potter books are well-written, well-loved, and have ultimately sold bucketloads. So why did she receive so many rejection letters? There are any number of reasons, but the point is that she had a goal set (to publish that damn book!) and she didn’t let failure upon failure stop her from continuing to try and try, getting back on the horse again and again.

It’s definitely hard sometimes…humans are naturally depressive and easily-discouraged creatures…but if the goal you’ve set for yourself is something that’s important to you, something that you know you’re not going to be happy just giving up on, then you have to press on. If you’ve done something wrong, figure out what it is. If outside issues are holding you back, figure out a way around them. And if the problem is just timing, situation, or reliance on others to react the way you need them to, you just have to keep trying, trying, trying, until all the puzzle pieces fall into place. In the end you’ll be better off for having to have worked for it, and the end of the line will be that much more beautiful when you reach it.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself, and I hope you’re able to hold on to that hope as well. 🙂

30 Days of Truth – Day 29

Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I hope to change my motivation/attention issues. It’s a double whammy.

First, the motivational side of things. I am absolutely, totally terrible at motivating myself to get things done. It’s more obvious with the boring stuff that needs to be done, like housework, but also applies to things I actually want to do. I’m just one of those people who knows there’s stuff to be done but who sits on the couch and screws around on the internet instead. A prime example is writing. I want to write. I want to finish my book so I can publish it. But 9 times out of 10 when I sit at the computer I’ll find myself browsing comedy sites, checking out photos people have uploaded to FaceBook, or checking my email for the tenth time that day even though I never get anything interesting.

The “attention” issue applies to several things, but writing specifically. See, I have several different stories half-finished right now. Some are things I could eventually publish, some are just personal projects that couldn’t be published for legal reasons (fanfics, for example). Currently I’m focusing on the zombie story because that’s the one I want to finish and publish asap. My problem, which I’ve been dealing with for quite a while now, is a skittish attention span. I’ll do really well for a while. I’ll write, say, 20000 words or so. And then I’ll get bored. I’ll start thinking about one of the other stories and I’ll long to be writing that one instead. It’ll get to the point where I’m writing utter crap for the zombie story because I’m just not into it anymore. So I’ll move on to the other story instead. Rinse and repeat, except next time it’ll be one of the other stories that I start longing to work on. You would think that using this method I would eventually finish all of the stories. The problem is that by the time I cycle back around to the first one, I’ve pretty much forgotten what the hell I was doing. So I’ll have to read through everything I’ve already written, which inevitably results in deciding to change things or rewrite entire giant sections. In this way I rarely get any real decent amount of work done.

It’s this issues that I hope to change about myself. The “why” part of the question should be obvious, but for the sake of answering thoroughly, I want to change these things because otherwise I’ll never finish any of my stories, thus never publishing any of them, thus failing in my dream to eventually be a published author.

30 Days of Truth – Day 6

Something you hope you never have to do.

Easy. I hope to never have to leave Nova Scotia. There are lots of people who think I’m just pushing off the inevitable, and I’ve honestly wondered about that myself, but I just despise the idea of leaving. There are lots of things about this province that make me want to scream (the number of taxes we deal with, our ridiculous power and gas prices, etc.) but it’s home, and all my family is here. My daughter is already going to have a lot less of a family experience than I had (I had dozens of cousins, whereas she only has the one), so I can’t fathom removing her from what she does have. Also, I myself am a total sook. I don’t make friends easily, so I cherish what I do have, and I hope to never have to leave it.