Permission to Fail

I always thought finishing a draft was everything. Not just because that’s the only way to even get close to publication–because I figured that all my doubts and insecurities about writing were just because I didn’t know what I was doing, and that once I had done it, I would know the way.

Well… not so much.

I started the draft of my first (and only successfully completed) project with zero expectation of success. After all, nothing I’d tried had ever worked before–no bribes, no willpower, no deadlines, nothing. And yet, somehow, this time it worked. It didn’t mean I didn’t have to push myself sometimes, but I made it.

Now I know I can do it… which, of course, means I’m expecting myself to succeed. And so far, this subconscious pressure (combined with real-world pressure, all of which I have placed upon myself) has frozen me entirely.

So I need to relearn how to have permission to fail–not just at publication (which is hardly in my control anyway), but even in drafting. Yes, I should push through. Yes, I should fight. Yes, I should have hope. But if all that doesn’t work, it’s okay. Really.

Much of my obsession with analyzing every option and developing the “perfect” story before I even start is because I feel like I need to succeed, and that failure will mean so much more now that I know it’s not a guarantee… counter-intuitive, perhaps, but so true (for me, at least). Whereas I was willing to take risks and make the leap in my last project because if it didn’t work, oh well–after all, I’d been doing nothing but that for years.

Now… I feel like I should be better. But maybe I only made it the first time because I wasn’t better. I need to go back to that place where I can try and fail, because otherwise I won’t even start.

So I’m giving myself permission to fail. And then get back up.


About J. Sevick

Just write.
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