I fail at a lot of things, and I’m not ashamed to say that I fail spectacularly.
As a fiction writer, I have a whole folder of novel starts that got trashed because of procrastination. As a blogger, I was crazy enough to pitch to ProBlogger (and yes, fail) when my own analytics were damn flat. And as a career hopeful, I was uncommon enough to choose writing as a profession, despite my mom and dad being CPAs.
I guess you could say that I’m not afraid to fail. To aim high and get shot down in a laughable shower of sparks. To be called unconventional, impractical, or sometimes downright stupid.
My point is that you shouldn’t be afraid either.
You shouldn’t be afraid because trial and error sometimes solves the most complex problems. I mean, just watch Tim Harford and his TED Talk on it. By trying and failing, we get better at knowing our systems and limits.
More importantly, by embracing failure, we encourage ourselves to risk it all when we feel our passions deserve it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I realize you want some data to go along with that story, so your wish is my command.
What am I still doing, despite everything?
- After four other false novel starts and about sixty pages of assorted content, I’ve finally understood how to persevere. Right now, my novel is being edited and will be released in July 2013.
- I wrote this guest post despite getting a little discouraged when previous attempts were rejected. I’ll also be brainstorming even more pitches – preparing myself for the “Thanks, but no thanks!” that may come.
- I’m still running my blog despite seeing meager results. My mind and heart still cling ferociously to the idea that hard work will bring me success. As the saying goes, “It can only get better from here.”
- As audacious as it may seem, I’m contacting all sorts of professors to learn from them. I may be a writer and I may be a teen, but all fields have the potential to improve my craft. At 14, I contacted a professor with 2 PhDs. The next year, I contacted a pioneer in international relations – Dr. Alexander Wendt, and he ended up sending me study material. Now that I’m sixteen, I’ve contacted Dr. Aubrey de Grey and solicited his opinions on immortality. Add to that, I contacted a former CEO of St. Martin’s Press, and had him interviewed on my blog. He had a lot to teach in that post, and it may help you if you write fiction or screenplays.
Who knows what’ll happen now that I’m 17 this year? I anticipate more learning ahead.
Now you go, “So what’s your point again?”
If there’s anything you’ll ever take away from this post, please let it be this one:
Embrace your failures.
In fact, fail often. Experiment a bit and see what works. Try a new format for the pages on your blog. Start that book you’ve been meaning to write. If you want, aim high and prepare for the possibility of getting trashed. Pitch a guest post, learn a new skill, or even start a business that you’re passionate about.
No matter what you try from all the options available, let these two brilliant men guide you with their words:
Failure is everywhere. And it’s fascinating. Most importantly, understanding failure is the key to understanding success. – Tim Harford
Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett
And of course, if you’re failing at your blog right now and want to get better, this blog post from Men with Pens is going to rescue you.
Remember to fail a lot, fail often and fail with an open mind. And of course, your comments are always welcome!
PS. Remember the mention above about failing my pitch to ProBlogger? Well, between the time that was written and now, I pitched again and succeeded. My guest post is already up on the site, and it will teach you to forget willpower and implement a different system for dominating bad blogging habits.