Welcome to the October edition of IWSG. If you haven’t already seen it, jump on over to Ninja Captain Alex’s blog, hop on the Linky, and release your fears and troubles into the world. Be sure to drop by the cohosts Julie Luek, Rachna Chabria, Beverly Fox, and Ilima Todd and thank them for volunteering for this month’s duties.
And now for a public service announcement:
Failure is the risk of living.
Yeah, I know, it sucks. It’s a gift, a second chance. It’s all the clichés and none of them wrapped in a stinking pile of nostalgia, regret, and bitter ash. (Maybe I should ease into topics, but sometimes the band-aid approach works best: yank and get it over with.)
When I was in high school and I told people I wanted to be a writer, they’d ask things like “Aren’t you afraid that you’ll wake up in your forties one day, and you’ll have accomplished nothing with your life? Don’t you worry about squandering your life for a pile of broken dreams? What happens if you never get published and you die having failed at everything you've ever tried?” It was very similar to the events described by Elizabeth Gilbert (see her amazing Ted talk).
This fear, this standing on the brink of something as sacred as your dreams is filled with everything that can go wrong. When people remind you how fragile this dream is, they make it sound hallowed. Don’t fly too close to the sun Icarus.
News flash: the heap of broken dreams with the bitter taste of ash in your mouth? You can get there by taking the safe path too. No one warns you that you can take the safe path, the sure thing, the "right" choice and still land in a ruined heap trying to figure out how to start your life over after a decade of hard work and heartache.
I know, way to really lift everyone’s spirits today, Rena, but I have something to say: The risk of absolute failure lies down EVERY path. So much of life is completely out of your control, why would you let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams.
I see a lot of writers these days hesitating on books or ideas. How do I know which one is right? You don’t. Worse, you could pick the perfect book, and it could still go nowhere. Imagine a book, similar to Twilight, but this one starring dragons instead of vampires. It snagged an agent. It sold to a publisher for wads of cash, and guess what? It flopped. (I only know this because an agent told me a previous book of mine reminded her of that book). And by flop, I mean the bookstore owner groaned when I asked her about it. Groaned. Then she smiled and said they’d returned all their unsold copies—which was all the copies they’d ordered—last week. Perfect book, poised to take advantage of a craze, and it got nada.
And it can happen in any profession. Safe jobs, dull jobs, wild jobs, dangerous jobs, everywhere.
There might be a pile of bitter ash at the end of every road, so why not walk the one you want? And you never know, the rainbow has to end somewhere, why not down that path? (that’s why there are so many songs about rainbows).