Normally around this time, I’d be writing frantically in an attempt to finish my novel before the end of National Novel Writing Month. But this year, that isn’t happening and I can’t help but say that I’m a bit disappointed in myself. It seems like I’ve failed myself.
Failure is an interesting thing. It leads to feelings of inadequacy and shame and other unpleasant feelings. But it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be proud of yourself because the thing about failure is that it means you at least TRIED. (In most cases; the case could be made that failing at something means you didn’t try hard enough, but I’m trying to be positive here…)
I think it takes a kind of bravery to say that you have failed at something. It’s admitting to yourself and others that you didn’t finish something you said you would. It’s difficult to claim failure because it isn’t something to be PROUD of.
Really cliche quotes always say that you can’t do everything perfectly on the first try, and every failure is a step in the right direction– a way to help you learn and grow as an individual. While I have a tendency to scoff at these quotes, I have to admit that there is some value in them.
I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo for the last two years– both times I’ve attempted it. This year, I was hesitant to even begin but thanks to the persuasion of a few of my writing friends, I started a novel this month. I doubted my ability to finish, based on my failure at NaBloPoMo in September. Furthermore, finals are coming up and this month has been the one where I have had more work to do in every class. It seemed like an impossible task– throw in a novel on top of all that? No thanks.
But I can’t be too upset with myself for failing. I keep reminding myself that I at least tried and though I’ve given up on hitting the 50k goal, I’m going to keep writing this story. Failing at NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean that I’ve failed at life and to be honest, the only person I’ve let down is myself, namely because some small part of me believes that I should have been able to finish.
The truth is, sometimes failure is inevitable. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do next and sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect them to. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a shot, because with that risk of failure comes the chance of success and I’m a firm believer of trying.
And yes, failure helps you grow. It helps you learn. Failing gives you a perspective on your life and a chance to fix mistakes when the opportunity arises to try again.
So even though I failed at NaNoWriMo (and NaBloPoMo), it doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It just means I’m trying something else out.
And now, I need to return to work that needs to be done. Failure isn’t an option.