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IWSG 07/07/16 – Effort Perserveres

  • Posted on July 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

We're here for you.  I honestly considered not doing this. I very much thought that I shouldn’t, because I’m not even sure I have the right to call myself a writer at this point. I’m finding it exceptionally hard to focus, to put in the effort. I haven’t put metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper in ages. I still write, sort of. I roleplay with a friend of mine, and the words flow easily in response to her replies. But I don’t really write my books anymore.

I consider myself ‘trying’, if only because I truly do want to write, I just… can’t seem to get around the block, the stumble, the ‘I should, but can’t’. I have time, time I spend on tumblr or youtube instead. I have energy, sometimes. Not often anymore, but sometimes. I blame my circumstances, and say to myself “You’re better than this, push through.” But… Honestly, I wonder if I am.

It’s the same with languages. I’ve always wanted to learn ASL and Japanese and Spanish. But I never seem to be able to put in the actual work. Only 180 words into this very article, and I’m having a hard time wanting to continue writing it at all, much less keep typing. My mind wanders, my eyes grow heavy, and I suddenly feel exhausted beyond measure. The same thing happens with housecleaning, with gardening, with anything I try. I feel lost and broken and lazy and spoiled. I feel selfish, because people are demanding things of me that I can’t provide. I feel, on my Bad Days, that I shouldn’t exist at all, because that would be easier than slogging through all of this.

I haven’t been to see my therapist in three weeks. I don’t have another appointment set up. I bathe maybe once every five days, when I can force myself to get up the energy to do it, because if I don’t, I just… don’t. I’m broken, in that I don’t feel that sense of accomplishment everyone gushes about. It’s not there. I finish things, I do things, I work hard, and I don’t feel that glow everyone describes. I just… feel like I haven’t done enough. It’s heartbreaking, and it makes me not want to try at all.

In the last four days, I have cleaned both the kitchen, bathroom and living rooms of this house, plus done more laundry than I’ve seen done in the entire history of my living in this house, plus at least two loads of dishes a day, plus watering the tomato and rose plants, and cleaning up my own room which was a pigsty. This is a massive amount of work. Trust me. But… I don’t feel accomplished. All I can think about is the fact that I haven’t done ENOUGH. That I keep being asked to do more, more, more, as if I’ve failed somehow.

I can’t explain it, properly. And I can’t tell you how to fix it; because I think, perhaps, there are no ways to fix it.

IWSG – The Green Mile

  • Posted on July 1, 2015 at 8:10 pm

It’s the last bit of the book. The climax, the final battle. The most terrifying, wondrous conclusion of several years of your life, and you are shaking with excitement. Then, it creeps up on you. The fear. This is it. This is the end. You’re about to finish the last bits, and there is so much to be done after that, but it feels so… So final. You’re terrified.

That’s how I feel right now, actually. I’m at the cusp of my final victory, the triumph of finally finishing. And I can’t put fingers to keyboard without wanting to curl up in a ball and say No, it’s not done, it’ll never BE done. I think that perhaps that fear sits on me, crushing me. Worse than writer’s block, this comes right before a deadline, and locks me up.

The worst part is, it’s right at my worst writing too! An emotionally charged battle with dialogue. Yeah, I know, the bread and butter of fantasy, but I can’t help it! I’m still learning! It’s my very own green mile, the last long walk before the gallows of the public eye, and I’m sitting here terrified to take that first step.

What if it fails? What if my inability to write makes my words completely incomprehensible to anyone? What if all this time has been wasted? What if I could have spent it building models of airplanes and selling them on craigslist? What if, what if, what if?

Like many, I’m going to just have to move past it,  kick myself in the arse and go on trying. Because I can’t just let this die. Not after spending so much time and energy, so much blood and sweat on it. I won’t allow that to happen. And that’s the key. You can’t allow yourself to be your biggest enemy. There’s nothing worse than failure, except perhaps self-sabotage.

So buck up, self, and quit sabatoging! We can do this, and we are gonna knock their socks off!

October IWSG – A Hard Lesson

  • Posted on October 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Today, when I woke up, I was excited. At my work, we get to put on special events every so often, and I’ve always been told that these events are the easiest way to make my monthly quota on sales. So, since there had been two and a half months before this particular special event, I worked my tail off, getting appointments set up, prospecting buyers, and making sure the merchandise would have what I needed to make my quota.

I ate a small breakfast, and coffee, and dressed in one of my best dresses. I put on my warpaint, and smiled my sweetest smile. I rode my bike to work, and when I got there, I put my best foot forward, trying to make sure everything was perfect for this day. You see, I had a goal. My goal? 15 grand in sales. This goal, clearly, was WAY over the top, since my bosses goal for me was only 2500 in sales.

You probably want to know what this has to do with writing books, and I’m getting to it, I promise. But first, you have to understand. I was pumped. I was confident, happy, absolutely sure that my work was going to pay off. That I was going to end up in the big leagues. For the last two months, my manager had filled my head with stories about how he made 34k once at one of these special events. How he’d managed to put his name on the board. I was looking forward to finally proving I was GOOD at something in the working world.

When the time for my first appointment passed, I found a sinking feeling growing in my stomach. I knew the next six hours would be tough, because the rest of my appointments were scheduled AFTER my normal six hour shift. You see, on special event days, we’re allowed to stay until our last appointment leaves. I was set to leave at three, but my next three appointments weren’t until five, five thirty, and six thirty. Which meant I’d be cutting it very close to my deadline to catch the final bus home, instead of having to ride my bike the four and a half miles home in the soon-to-be-winter cold.

Tensions rose, as more and more appointments passed and no one showed. My manager started coming down hard on all of us, and morale was low. I will admit, I’ve had issues with panic attacks at work before, and when under this sort of pressure, I tend to hide how absolutely wrecked I am. I had to take small breaks in the break room to avoid bursting into tears under the dark cloud of failure. As my appointments passed one by one, I had to accept the fact that all of my hard work had been for nothing.

The guests never showed. I didn’t get to sell the great big amounts I had hoped to sell. I sold perhaps 200 dollars today, and that doesn’t feel like any kind of victory to me, when, in order to hold up my end of our team, I needed 2300 more than that. I left my store feeling like a failure. And then, to find out the bus had already gone? Well, let’s just say, my bike ride was even colder thanks to my tears.

Now, you ask me again, what does this have to do with writing? Well, more specifically, it has to do with perseverance. Because writing, being an author, and getting published? Oh, you can bet there are times when they feel just like I felt on that bike in the cold autumn wind. There is nothing more heart-wrenching then putting your heart and soul into something, really breaking your back over it, only to find that all that work was for nothing.

Whether you’re choosing independent publishing or traditional, it doesn’t matter. You ARE going to experience the sort of heartache I describe here in vivid detail. Months without sales on your amazon account. Rejection letter after rejection letter in your inbox. These things WILL happen. Nothing can stop them. No one is a success overnight, despite what the tabloids say.

I bet you’ve heard what I’m going to say next many, many times. But I have a precursor to it. I’m not going to just jump into the ‘you have to shoulder it and move on speech’, because honestly? That’s the most emotionally bass-ackwards poppycock I’ve ever heard. NOTHING should be tossed aside like that, when you have put so much effort into it. Mourn it! Throw yourself a small pity party! Whine about it to friends and family members. Post about it on Facebook. Eat ice cream until you feel sick, all the while crying into your favorite blanket! Do what you need to do to get over that sick feeling in your heart.

Because once you’re finally over it. Once the hurt has settled, and you can look back on it and begin to analyze it carefully, you’ll see areas where you can improve. Where you can move beyond what USED to be your hardest work, your most effort, and turn it into more. You’ll begin to see the moments you can turn from sand into diamonds. And there is nothing in the world more valuable than that moment of clarity, after the tears, after the sorrow. So yes, today, I was a VERY insecure writer. However, after this important lesson, and a good bout of tears and apple crisp, I have found myself even more devoted.

Because the goals I set myself are just that. Goals. Things to work towards, no matter how far I fall flat from them for now. A mistake here, a failure there, these aren’t things to fear. These are things to persevere.

thanks to www.fanpop.com for use of their autumn background for this poster.October IWSG – A Hard Lesson

For more Insecure Writers giving you good advice, please visit the Insecure Writers Support Group.

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