“Fail. Fail again. Fail better.” This is a quote by Samuel Beckett. And here is another one by Thomas Edison: “I didn’t fail one thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with one thousand steps.”
I think we hear many times throughout our lifetime how it doesn’t matter how many times we fail as long as we keep on trying. If we stop at the 999,999th time, it might have been that millionth time that could’ve been the one to work.
For me, I’ve been constantly learning about writing both fiction and nonfiction. In fact, I’ve heard time and time again that the first novel you ever write will be worthless. That was so hard for me to believe. I mean if you have the gift of writing, it couldn’t possibly be worthless. And then I found out why.
It’s because it doesn’t matter how naturally gifted you are because your first novel is sort of your learning curve. You need to hone in your craft. There are things like telling vs showing and passive parts that need to become active. Making sure to keep your tenses the same throughout. Making sure to stay in the same POV (point of view) instead of head hopping. And yet there’s still more.
The first full version of Mari’s book will forever be put into a file folder as it’s not right. I mean, don’t get me wrong. If someone is a friend or family member, he or she may be interested in reading it but that would be about all.
And the fiction novel I’ve been working on is what I like to call my learning curve. Through that initial version I’ve learned so much but I’ve also come to realize it’s just not right. I need to go back to the drawing board. Bits and pieces of what was written before will still be used, but I can already tell you the story has taken on a whole new life. I’m truly loving the direction it’s heading and it’s so exciting to watch it enfold out before me.
So those failing better moments are so well worth it as we learn what we need to do in the end.
Jean Williams says
My first drafts of my first book would never see publication. A few years ago, I sent in my first pages to a contest and one of the judges gave me great ideas to flesh out and make known the true theme of the story. I could have declined her one big change, but it just so happens, it was one I was too timid to add in for a deeper story. That judge gave me permission for bold story telling. After dozens and dozens of rewrites and years and years of work, this book is much better and feels right. Whether or not it will ever see publication is yet unknown, but this is my learning curve story.
Kristena Tunstall says
It sounds like we both have our “learning curve” story and it’s what has helped us to grow as a writer. I love it. I figure the more I fail at writing the closer I become to succeeding one day.