Monday, November 8, 2010

what i have come to expect

I have been contemplating the meaning of the word “failure” for months. This is my way of preparing for it, of defining it for myself, and attempting to take the punch out of it as I prepare to send out my first feeble attempt at a query letter and synopsis.

I’m trying to be realistic about this. I know from reading the blogs of best-selling authors that many of them started out the same way, with a sense of uncertainty, of ineptitude, of dread. Many of them collected a boatload of rejection slips before they found an agent…and again, before they engaged a publisher. So this is what I have come to expect.

I am struggling to convince myself that rejection is not the same as failure…that three years laboring over an unpublished novel is not wasted time. This has been a journey of discovery for me, a dream fulfilled, even if I never find my way to a publisher’s doorstep.

So…instead of bracing myself for failure, I tell myself that, for a beginner, I did pretty well. I lined up all those words, 78,000 of them one after another, so that they told a story. I wrote it with passion, patience and perseverance. There is truth in what I wrote. Reading over the manuscript now, I still like it. This is not what it feels like to have failed. Failure would mean that I hadn’t summoned the courage to attempt this in the first place. That I hadn’t poured my soul into it and spoken the truth. That I’d allowed fear of failure to defeat me. That I’d abandoned the effort altogether.

So…for me, whether I publish it or not, “The Bandaged Place” in its completed form, is a triumph, not a failure.

How do you define “failure”?

“What would you attempt
if you knew you could not fail?"
--author unknown—
In my next post, I’ll tell you what it feels like to take the plunge into unfamiliar waters.

1 comment:

  1. It's a long road to publication. I feel your pain everyday. Sent out a hand full of queries the other day. for every one that comes back, two are sent out after a careful review/revision of the query. Sooner or later, someone will bite. Keep the faith.