Failure is Not a Four-Letter Word

by Michelle Griep

Newsflash: you are going to fail.

Some way, some how, you will fall and bloody your writerly knees, possibly your chin, and maybe even knock a few teeth out in the process. It can happen in many ways. A Tommy gun of a review will pepper your soul with bullet holes, or you find a piece of your writing used as a birdcage liner at your Great Aunt Nina’s house. Maybe you just can’t sell your manuscript because the writing is like a preschooler’s.

Whatever mask failure parades around in, it’s a guarantee that it will find you like a creepy stalker. Wearing a clown costume. And smelling of beer and gorgonzola.

So the question I pose to you today isn’t what will happen if you fail, it’s what will happen when you fail? Will you:

  • Wail like a three-year-old on an all-day crying jag?
  • Take out your angst on the dog, cat, chameleon or your mother?
  • Quit writing? Just take your ball and go home?

How you handle failure exposes what’s on the inside of you and how you view the world. My kids hate it when I say this, but you’re not one of my offspring so I can stand on top of the table and shout:

“Failure is an opportunity. 

It’s a gift-wrapped chance to go back to the drawing board and re-create.”

If you change your mindset about failure, take away all of it’s negative power and infuse it with positive, then you will eventually be a winner. Why? Because you won’t have quit.

Failure is part of a writer’s life. If you can’t deal with that, then maybe you’re not a writer. Yeah, that’s an offensive statement, but perseverance and determination are the two qualities every successful writer owns.

So go out there and fail, little writers. Wait a minute. Fail is a four-letter word. Gah! I technically failed with my title. Hmm. Is that opportunity I hear knocking?

Author Michelle Griep


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.