I have tried to write this blog post three times. I have yet to make it past the first paragraph though, as I finish my introduction and wonder, “how is this going to encourage anyone?” So I’ve taken several breaks to play Farmville and think. I’ve also read a few chapters (or books) by Karen Witemeyer, and I’ve putzed around on my social media. That’s where I found my current inspiration.
I don’t recall the exact quote, but the gist of it is this: there are no failures in life, only learning opportunities.
I wrote my first novel manuscript eight years ago. It took me seven years to get an agent. There were many opportunities to quit–and on more than one occasion I had to walk away to get a new perspective–but I didn’t give up. As hard as it was to receive the criticism, I choked it down and learned from it.
The same thing is happening now as I’m launching my copywriting business. I’ve struggled for five years, trying to figure out which freelance writing niche I belong in and how to succeed in it. I’ve attended more than a dozen writing conferences and submitted articles to magazines, newspapers, and blogs. While I’ve had some minor success (making $15-50 per article), things have never taken off in the journalistic realm.
In a desperate moment of needing some income, I started telling people I’d write their professional biographies and help them with their websites. I wasn’t excited about it, but I needed the work. Turns out I’m pretty good at writing copy–and I like it! After half a decade of running on the hamster wheel of writing, I’ve finally figured out where I want to go, and people are responding.
This doesn’t mean I’ve arrived though. I’ve already had my first unhappy client. I could take this as a sign of failure and never write copy again, but I kind of like copywriting. Instead, I’m going to look at everything I did and figure out how I can do it better the next time. Even though my methods have worked for 99% of my clients, it didn’t work for this one, and I want to know why. I want to make sure everyone’s happy.
On the fiction side of things, I’m preparing for my eighth manuscript edit. I could call it quits and toss this manuscript aside–I mean, seriously, eight edits?? I could snuff my nose at my agent and self-publish. Or … I could read over the agent and editor comments and look for ways to improve my story (and so far each round of edits has, in fact, improved my story).
So there you have it. Failure is always an option because failure only exists in your point of view. If no one is encouraged by this post, then I can look for new forms of motivation and inspiration and try again. If someone is encouraged by this post, then I can pat myself on the back and figure out how to keep encouraging others.
It’s only failure if I let it be. I think I’ll choose to learn.
Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, a wife, novelist, and homemaker, Karin Beery has had more than 450 articles published in various periodicals, in addition to writing her novels. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the American Christian Writers Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. She is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.