The Joy of Failure

When most of us hear the word failure we assume a negative connotation. And yet failure is often a path to learning and ultimately to future success.

Take my writing career. (Dare I call it that?) I publish my blog posts without consulting anyone; I choose my own topics and edit my own work. Recently though, I had an editor send me some feedback for an article I’m writing. Though I expected feedback, I was surprised at how much. I reminded myself that this was an opportunity to learn.

Even more telling are the multiple rejections from book publishers. I know that J.K. Rowling had a dozen rejections and Stephen King several dozen for their first novels. We hear similar stories for Judy Blume, William Faulkner, Dr. Seuss, Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell. In fact, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time received a whopping 26 rejections before going on to win The Newberry Medal. And one publisher said this of the now classic Lord of the Flies: “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”

So, what does each rejection, each so-called-failure, teach me? After the initial sting, I gain a new perspective and a strengthened resolve to pursue a project I believe in. I strive to improve my writing and remind myself that failure is simply an opportunity to learn.

A good friend recently sent this short video (very short, in fact) summing it all up: Keep Moving Forward. So whether with writing or with life, I celebrate the opportunities that failure presents. I keep moving forward, gaining momentum each step of the way.


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