Personal Reflection

Feeling Like A Failure

The title says it all, doesn’t it?

I feel like a failure. And I’m doing my best to look on the bright side. I won’t get into all the details. I don’t want to bore you. I failed. I believe I shouldn’t have. But I did.

Knowing me that fire in my belly is burning even brighter now. I’m going to use this failure as a motivator to do better.

I think it’s easy to say I’m dumb or stupid. Right now those aren’t the words I want, much less need to hear. I’m not dumb or stupid. Failing doesn’t mean I’m useless, worthless.

We’re off to a great start to the school year already.

Don’t worry, I didn’t fail a test or anything. I just started school after all. You may be thinking how I failed on my first day back. It was a little bonus challenge. Nothing life changing, world ending.

I think if you know me well enough, you understand my definition of failure is different from everyone else’s.

I’m not sorry for holding myself to a higher standard. I have lofty goals because I know I can reach them. I intend to.

So enjoy following my journey as I fail and fail some more.

I’ll take this experience as an opportunity to learn. Besides humans are always learning. We should be anyway.

Sooner or later, I’ll have other failures on my mind. This one won’t be as important. When all is said and done, none of this will matter.

I’ve always taken failure hard. It’s probably a byproduct of how I’m wired, who I am.

I used to wonder whether it was worse to disappoint someone else or disappoint myself. I know the answer to that now.

I hate disappointing myself. Hate it more than a lot of things and people in this world.

I’ll take disappointing others over myself any day of the week. I can live with letting people down. My heart breaks when I let myself down.

Still, I rather fail and disappoint everyone in the entire universe than not try. I refuse to live with regrets. Wonder what if for the rest of my life.

I know trying and taking risks means opening myself up to failing. There will always be the possibility I fail in the worst way possible. But at least I tried, at least I know.

I may not be as fearless as I once was, but I’m not so afraid of failure that I won’t go after opportunities. Or make them myself for that matter.

 

Personal Reflection

Failure, Fear, And Feelings

This will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, but I don't enjoy failing. And I hate feeling paralyzed by failure even more.

Unsurprisingly, I've failed in my life. Many times in fact. I've made mistakes and messed up. But I try not to let my past failures hold me back.

I don't want to stop taking risks because I feel scared of rejection.

That being said, I'm still afraid of things.

I can get over disappointing others, letting everyone else down. Yet I have a hard time moving past the idea of failing myself again and again.

My memory works great when remembering the bad. Not only do I remember my failures, I also have a knack for recalling my near failures.

What compounds the problem is my own perception of failure. My personal definition doesn't match up with any found in a dictionary. Some definition I have.

In the past, I used to tell my friends or classmates I failed a test. Most took that to mean I didn't ace it. I don't blame them.

For a while, I deemed any grade less than an A to be an F for failure.

When I think about my academic career thus far, I wonder how much of my success in school was because I felt so afraid of failing, I worked as hard as possible to ensure I wouldn't.

And although fear can be a great motivator, it can also be a dream killer.

The thought process for some may be if I'm going to fail anyway, why bother trying at all?

I hate that sort of mentality, but I also fall into this trap from time to time.

On certain days, I genuinely believe I'm not any good. (Writing the aforementioned sentence has made me emotional.)

I think I'm not enough. I'll never be smart enough or good enough or beautiful enough.

I have not been this emotional writing a blog post. Ever. Four years. One thousand plus posts. And I finally break down while writing one. About time, huh?

A part of me wishes I could rewind my life and go back to the days I felt fearless. A time when the idea of failure didn't cross my mind. A moment when it didn't matter to me what anyone else thought.

I'd also like to have my almost-started-crying-while-penning-a-blog-post card back. Oh well. I can live without it.

Writing

Face Your Fears As A Writer

I like to think I am more fearless while writing as opposed to when I'm not. What a surprise.

I wouldn't compare myself to a chicken because I'm worse.

In real life, I hold myself back from doing things because I'm scared. And I wonder if my fears also faze me in creative pursuits such as blogging.

I know I can take bigger risks and push the envelope more so to speak. But I don't.

Is it because I'm terrified of the unknown? Am I afraid to depart from what I'm used to and do something different?

Yes. And yes.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm only taking small baby steps. It's still better than not taking any, never moving forward.

What gets me is the fact that at one point in my life writing was risky.

I didn't always write. I wasn't good at it. Even though I had no idea what my future held, I figured writing wouldn't work out for me.

So many years ago, I took a risk one day by picking up a pen and putting words on the page.

Now all I want is to create better content, tell greater stories. Tough to do so if I'm scared of failing or rejection.

Maybe your definition of risk is different from mine. That's fine.

But isn't it insane to imagine how the things you do now were a risk or a fear five years ago? That what you consider risky now might be totally safe, even routine a month from now?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is our fears change. Our definition of risk does too. Almost everything and everyone changes. Don't be afraid of change. Embrace it.

After all, you can live your whole live letting fear hold you back or you can show fear what you're made of.

Here's to conquering our fears. Face the page and take risks. You have more to gain than you have to lose.

Life is a journey, after all. Might as well enjoy where you are right now.

Doing more, doing better happens gradually. You don't make leaps and bounds in progress overnight. But every time you face your fear, you're improving yourself.

It's okay to be afraid. But it's not okay to let your biggest fear hold you back.

I don't have an easy solution. The best we can do as writers and human beings is to confront what's holding us back from reaching our full potential.

Dig deep. Find the strength you need to overcome your greatest insecurities.

Realize there's no feat quite like facing your demons and coming out victorious.

I raise my glass of water to all of you. Keep taking risks. Remember you're better than you fears.

Writing

22 Lessons I Learned About Writing

These are twenty-two things I have learned as a writer. Or I’m still learning. Or I hope to learn.

  1. Start writing.
  2. Believe in your story.
  3. Take it one word at a time.
  4. Hold onto your dreams.
  5. Pursue your passion.
  6. Set small goals.
  7. Never settle for less than your best.
  8. Make the right sacrifices.
  9. Stay true to your vision.
  10. Write for yourself.
  11. Be your own critic.
  12. Be your own cheerleader.
  13. Don’t let the bad days win.
  14. Talk to other writers.
  15. Accept rejection.
  16. Embrace failure.
  17. Find a support system.
  18. Ask for help when needed.
  19. Exercise your brain and body.
  20. Remember why you started.
  21. Forgive yourself.
  22. Finish your stories.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned?

Writing

Advice For Aspiring Writers 

I love giving bad writing advice. 

  • When you want to quit, remember why you started.
  • You don’t have to get your story right the first time. Or the fifteenth.
  • Your piece should be as long as it needs to be. No more. No less.
  • Read what you want, when you want, where you want. Just read something.
  • Write often. Even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Turn off your inner critic while writing. Turn on the critic while editing. 
  • Let that idea in your head make it into the paper. A bad page is better than a blank one. 
  • Have fun with the first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. First drafts are supposed to suck. Editing exists for a reason.
  • Get better and better with every failure. Not trying is worse than failing.
  • Adjust. Change what doesn’t work. Improve what does.
  • Stop worrying. You’re wasting time you’ll never get back.
  • Make the most of what you have. Even and especially when you don’t have much. 
  • Keep learning. Don’t ever stop learning.
  • Live your life. Then relive your life through writing. 
  • Never settle for anything less than your best. Why do anything if you aren’t going to give it your all?

I also love soliciting good writing advice.

Personal Reflection

All About Failure

Failure is humbling. It’s hard.

Failure prepares you for success. But it doesn’t define you.

Failure won’t be in vain if you learn from it.

Failing is normal. Common even.

You might not see other people failing. That doesn’t mean they aren’t.

It’s tempting to blame someone or something but try not to. Blaming and pointing fingers doesn’t accomplish anything.

Embrace the fact you’ll continue to fail at different things for the rest of your life. 

Just remember it’s not the end of the world.

Writing

An Open Letter To Writers

An Open Letter To Writers


Dear Writers,

You’re human. You will always be human. You’ll make your share of mistakes. You’ll fail and fall repeatedly. That’s if you try. If you take chances and risks. But if you want something badly enough, you’ll go for it. And every failure and fall will be worth it.

You’ll do well to remember that you’re a writer, not a machine. And you’re a character, not a computer.

You’re an individual with a voice, with a story to tell. You have every right to speak up and use your voice. You have every right in the world to tell that story. Your story.

Love your art, your craft. Love what you do and do what you love. But ultimately love yourself while you’re doing. While you’re living.

Never let anyone make you feel ashamed for who you are. Don’t feel bad for liking who you like and loving what you love.

No. You’ll hear that word a lot more than you’ll hear yes. Rejection is not personal, so be professional. Don’t take anything personally.

Take writing seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously.

Sincerely,

An Aspiring Writer
Writing

Be A (More) Confident Writer

Another Tumblr ask and answer.

Hi, I was wondering if you could answer how to gain confidence or be more confident about writing. I know that writing every day is a key step, but sometimes I get so unsure about what I want to write that I can’t even write it for myself. Thanks!

I can certainly answer based on my own experience. Keep in mind this is what has worked for me, so it may or may not work for you.

As usual I’ll bold the main points and elaborate on them. If you’re lazy or lacking time (who isn’t?), you can skim over the non-bolded text. Or skip this entirely. I don’t care.

Read (and write) every day.

You’ve already mentioned writing every day. It’s worth noting I read every day. Some days, I don’t get as much reading done as I’d like. But a little work over your long lifespan adds up. Read a bit every day if you can, so you subconsciously pick up new words, strange ideas, different phrases, odd concepts, etc. Making it a habit to read and write daily has helped my confidence tremendously. Reading especially. Books are arguably the best teacher if you’re willing to be a disciplined student.

Be independent.

Do what you can on your own. There’s nothing like conquering the world by yourself to boost your confidence. Of course, ask for help if you need it. But writing requires you to wear many hats and put on many pants alone. Without someone else holding your hand, feeding you food. Just know you’re more capable thank you think.

Wear Write what makes you feel confident.

Heck, wear what makes you feel confident while you’re writing. Write what you know isn’t terrible advice either. Though I wouldn’t stick to writing what you know all the time. If you know what you’re writing about like the back of your hand, you should have a greater command of your subject. Therefore, you should be more confident. If not, the Internet is your best bet. Allow yourself to feel comfortable. Maybe that means having a cup of coffee by your side. Perhaps you’ll put on makeup before heading to your desk. Or you might stick to a genre you love for your first novel. Comfort leads to confidence, at least in my experience. So get comfortable physically, mentally, emotionally. Confidence will follow.

Let yourself fail.

Failure sucks. But fear of failure sucks even more. I want to address the remark you made of being “unsure”. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I wonder if you’re afraid of something. Afraid of failing. Afraid your story won’t be what you hope it will be. Afraid you’re not good enough. Whatever. I want you to fail. I want your story to not be perfect. I want you to feel like your writing isn’t good enough. So long as you use that to your advantage. You failed? Keep failing until you succeed. Your story didn’t turn out right? Write until you make it right. Your writing is nowhere near where it needs to be? Then keep your butt in that chair and work away. Every time you’re rejected, either start on something else or rewrite that story. Send your story into the world as many times as it takes. And never stop learning from your mistakes. It’s not easy failing again and again. But the more you fail, the better off you’ll be from it.

Get published.

I’m not saying you need to publish a book in order to be a confident writer. But there’s something about seeing your name in print that nothing else can quite rival. I know it isn’t easy. I’ve been there. I’m still there. If I can do it, you most definitely can. Take baby steps. Enter a national or regional writing contest. Then keep at it until you’re accepted for publication. Someone somewhere will publish your story. Or poem. Maybe try your hand in writing a blog post for a business or organization. I’ve done both. Tiny successes like those plant and/or water a confidence seed in your head. If your work is good enough to be printed, you’re on the right path. If you can get something published, you can certainly do it again.

Care less.

I used to be very paranoid and sensitive. But ever since uni started, I’ve stopped caring about the stupid things and I care a lot less about not as stupid but still senseless stuff. Guess what? I’m more confident today than I ever was before. You’ll just have to take my word on it. Don’t stop caring about everything. But do care less about the not so important crap life throws you. I hope you feel better and more confident as a result.

Happy writing confidently!

Ask me anything if you want to read more of my advice.

Are you sick of these already? I promise once exams end, I’ll be less of a lazy blogger who complains about lack of time. Key word: promise.