As creatives, it’s important that we become resilient.
Last time we talked about why we shouldn’t fear rejection. This time we’re going to talk about a related topic, the fear of failure. The two are intricately connected, but they’re not exactly the same.
We must determine for ourselves how we define both failure and success. There are lots of voices “out there” trying to define these terms for us, but we’ll be constantly weighed down if we pay too much attention to these voices.
First, let’s consider some possible definitions of success.
Getting an agent.
Signing with a traditional publisher.
Earning enough to quit your day job.
Becoming a bestselling author.
Winning a literary award.
While these are traditional definitions of success, they’re not the only valid definitions.
Other Possible Definitions
Getting to The End of your first manuscript, even if it is never published.
Finding healing as you journal your struggles and joys … for your eyes only.
Self-publishing your book.
Developing a small but devoted readership.
Compiling your family history and having it printed for your parents and siblings.
The Definition that Matters Most
The world probably won’t call you “a successful author” if you can’t check at least most of the boxes in the first list, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing success on your terms, as God directs.
And when you fail to achieve what you believe God has in store for you, remember that He sees the big picture. Perhaps He’s teaching you patience and perseverance. Perhaps what you’re writing now is preparation for what you will write and publish in the future. Perhaps that rejection letter saved you from signing a contract that would do more harm than good in the long run.
When you’re tempted to consider yourself a failure as a creative, look for all the lessons you’re learning, how much your writing has improved as you’ve persevered, and just how many people you may have helped along the way. It’s not only those millions that matter, it’s that individual whose day has been brightened, whose life has been changed, by your words.
Any writer who makes a difference to just one other person is not a failure in my opinion.