IWSG - Failure To Launch

Hey, gang! Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. (Yes, holy poop it's October already...) It's our monthly tribute to wallowing in self-pity and doubt, or what most of us refer to as: writing. 

Actually, it's usually a bit more positive than all that as we try to lift each other out of the pitfalls that plague a life devoted to creating. If you think you'd like to join or learn more about our band of merry misfits, click the pic below.

IWSG - Failure To Launch

Why do we fail? Sometimes a very difficult and complex question to answer. 

A wise woman (my mother) once told me that we only truly fail at the things we never attempt. That logic yields an equally powerful and simple answer to the previous difficult and complex question: Success is in the trying, not the accomplishing. 

TOTALLY didn't jibe with Yoda's "Do or do not. There is no try." by the way. But I like to think of my mother as a Real World Jedi, so I'll side with her on this one. :-)

I've found the advice has played out as almost universally true in my life. I really only view missed opportunities due to inaction or indecision on my  part as failures. When I've decided to get in the game and play--outcome be damned--I almost always feel as if I've won something.

That's not to say I'm a raging success at everything I do. 

Sometimes I win by falling on my face and learning the limits of what I can and can't do...

Sometimes I win by screwing up so much I eventually learn the right way of doing things by default (see also - writing)...

Sometimes I win by feeling just inadequate enough to keep trying until I'm proficient...

Sometimes I win--like a kid touching a hot stove--by simply knowing and understanding more about the world than when I started...

While those aren't the stuff of workplace motivational posters, they're markers of growth in my book. And not standing still, trying, is all I'm usually after.

I bring all of this up for IWSG today, because I think in writing in particular, we're sometimes so terrified by lofty ideas of success and failure that we neglect to even start. 

Maybe we don't want to go up to the starting line because we aren't sure exactly where the finish line is. Maybe the other runners are more accomplished and we feel we won't stand a chance. Maybe we're worried that everyone will have gone home and not notice when we do finally finish the race.

There are so many reasons to not start, and I can't tell you how much success you'll have if you do go for it. But I can promise you, you will fail if you never try.

If you knew you could only measure success by the effort you gave in the attempt, what would you try?

And speaking of trying and being bold, a good writer-blogger friend, Nick Wilford, started up his own editing business this week. Nick is extremely dedicated to the writing craft, and I can say from previous interactions on a project, he's a joy to work with. So I'm sure he'll do great things with his business. If you're interested in learning more about his services, jump HERE.



  1. "Success is in the trying, not the accomplishing. " Yes!
    We only fail if we give up or don't try. Loved this post EJ!

  2. We neglect to even start - how many people have been held hostage by their own fears? I think the percentage would be way over half. And that's sad.
    After all, what's the worst that could happen...?

    1. I agree, Alex. So many people underestimate what they can achieve because they don't test themselves.

  3. I just wrote a post with a similar theme on the site She Writes today. The idea being we gotta get ou there and play. Otherwise we sit in the dugout wondering "what if". I lob a lot of stuff out there-- some of it is a complete embarrassing flop, others do "just OK", but sometimes something actually soars, and man does that feel good. Nothing is wasted; everything is learned. Great reminder!

    Julie Luek
    A Thought Grows
    Co-host IWSG October

  4. I feel like I've touched the hot stove more than once in the past few years. I must be a slow learner - lol. You are right. I do learn a lot from not hitting the mark on something.

  5. We only fail when we either do nothing or quit. Mistakes are okay. Learn from them. Try-fail-adjust. We just can't let them stop us or the fear of a mistake keep us from taking that first step.

  6. Those who don't ever fail have never even tried!!!! Failure is a part of living. Best to you.

  7. You're so right. You can't win any ribbons if you're sitting on the sidelines, watching. I'm back from my Sept. break, and so I'll see you more often this fall.

  8. Fantastic motivation poster! I have a heck of a time quitting once I've started so trying is not part of my thinking unless we're talking food. But I love this part, "Sometimes I win--like a kid touching a hot stove--by simply knowing and understanding more about the world than when I started..." Great post!!

  9. Yoda and your mother are very wise! Great post :)

  10. Fantastic post! I sometimes think many people are either too afraid or too lazy just to try something. I've stumbled and fallen a lot in life, but when I'm given an opportunity, I try my best. I hope I can pass this wisdom on to my son.

  11. Love this post! I needed it today, especially. I love that your mom is a real life Yoda! :)
    Thank you so much for your helpful and needed comment on my blog today. Sometimes I just need to rest and give myself some filling up in the creative corner before I can go out and fight the good fight again - even if it means I try and get knocked out of the ring, I'm determined to get back in there again. Not sure where the boxing metaphor is coming from today, but there it is.
    Thanks again, EJ!

  12. Your mom is a wise woman! In the wise words of Bill Nye the Science Guy from Dancing With The Starts: we won't regret what we do--we'll regret what we didn't do.

  13. Go mom!!! What a great saying. I really believe it! It's so true. That's what LIVING is about. If you never try, you're NOT LIVING....

    Give your mom my best for that one!

  14. Hug your mom for me! Nicely done~ I love this post :D

  15. ALWAYS side with your mother! ;)

    Very uplifting post. Yes, I agree. I feel I've failed if I've failed to give my all to it. If I honestly "fail" I can live with that. It's doing a bad job or lacking effort that really gets to me.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  16. I want to meet your mom!!!! I bet she's the coolest lady. Wise words, EJ. Now if only I could tattoo them into my head!!!

  17. You were raised by a wise woman.


“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.