Today's quote is one that you might want to read several times. I did and found that the message came through a little stronger each time.
As writers, we have fallen into the I failed! category more than once. It' likely that we have felt like failures more than we'd care to admit. Every time a submission flies back with a rejection, the old I failed! button lights up. The big problem comes when we allow those small failures to grow into bigger ones. The tragedy is if a writer ends up quitting.
We sometimes forget that we are in control of our attitudes. If it makes you feel better to beat yourself up over a failed writing project, that's your choice. But, does it truly soothe your hurt feelings to dig the hole deeper? I doubt it. Groom the attitude that it didn't work in one place but it might elsewhere; then move on.
What if you have been working weeks, months, even years on a big writing project when you finally realize that it is not going to turn out as you'd hoped? I failed! Is that what you will yell as you run your hands through your hair and stamp your feet? What if you turned back to that project and tried to learn why it didn't work? Figure out the why and you might have a new how for either a new project or to rework the old one.
If you write a personal essay that turns out to be nothing more than an anecdote and appears to be a real dud when you read and reread it, don't hit the delete button or rip up the paper. There are ways to salvage pieces like this. Personal essays are about things that have happened to us or others but they should also teach us something or enforce a universal truth. Bring that part out within your essay and readers will have an 'aha!' moment ranging in size from very small to gigantic. If you forgot that one essential ingredient for a personal essay, you didn't fail. You just didn't finish! Go back and add to what you've already written.
No one ever told you that the writing journey is simple and satisfying with no bumps in the path. They didn't say that because it would be a big, fat lie. Every successful writer has dealt with failures on the rocky road from newbie writer to one that is published. The ones who go on to publishing success are those who don't quit and who learn from their failures.
I'm going to repeat that last sentence because it is important. The ones who go on to publishing success are those who don't quit and who learn from their failures.