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30 Days of Writing Tips – Day 23 – Be Willing To Fail

fail your way to writing success

The Book Title Says It All

The title of the book really says it all – success does start with failure. How could it be otherwise? It’s persistence in spite of failure that leads to successful freelance writing.

None of us were born walking – first we learned to pull ourselves up and were willing to fall over and over again until we could stand on our own. Then we learned to take tentative steps hanging on to something. Finally we stepped out, and probably fell on our face. We may have cried, but we got up and did it again and again until we could walk across the room unaided.

None of us were born knowing how to write either. First we had to learn to talk, then to read as we learned to shakily form block letters. Sentences were a mystery until, one day they weren’t. We got there by practicing reading and writing.

Nor were we born knowing how to run a freelance writing business. Fortunately it’s a learnable skill.

Maybe the notion that we should avoid failure comes from school. After all, most of us were threatened with an F or a failing grade. As freelance writers, however, we’ve got to find a way to let go of the fear of failure so we can get on with the writing.

Then, when we’ve written, we have to submit. Or, we have to get over the fear of rejection and make some cold calls, or get our website set up.

Each step of the way we are likely to fail the first time we try it. In fact we may fail multiple times. If we let that failure stop us, then we’re stopped. Allowing ourselves to be stopped is real failure.

Being willing to fail our way to success as it were, finding away to accept seeming failure so we can go on is built into us as human beings. It’s how we learned to walk, and it’s also how we can learn to be successful freelance writers.

How can you let go of your fear of failure so you can get closer to success?

30 Days of Writing Tips Archive

Write well and often,


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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Rai

    Hi Anne,

    Your post reminds me of my favorite quote of all time:
    “A man may fall a thousand times, but he will not be a failure until he says someone pushed him.”
    E. Letterman said those words and I have tried to remember that quote every time I’ve found myself down and scraped up. Failure is not a hindrance unless you blame someone else or you don’t learn from the experience.
    Rai recently posted..How to Take Back Your MorningsMy Profile

  • Probably one of the best tips all month, Anne. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never start. Failures along the way helped me grow. They help writers understand that they’re resilient, too.

    I hope you’re putting all these in an e-book!

    • Thanks Lori… maybe I also need to do a post on something like courage doesn’t mean fear free.

  • Thank you for your post! As someone who is shy and hates to put myself out there, I need to not be afraid to fail. I never thought of marketing as a learnable skill. Good thoughts!
    Andrea Altenburg recently posted..When Technology Gets in the WayMy Profile

  • Laura Davis

    I recently heard some encouraging words on this topic from a most unlikely source: an interview with Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith. The interviewer asked Tyler whether he ever worked & worked on something, and at some point, just realized it still wasn’t good.

    Tyler chuckled and replied, “Oh, you mean polishing a turd? Yeah, happens all the time. It’s all part of being a musician, man, you gotta dare to suck.”

    • That is some of the most amusing and apt advice I’ve heard in awhile. I think “You gotta dare to suck.” is going up on the wall of my office.
      Erin Hutton recently posted..Community Cooking Challenge Bloghop!My Profile

      • Hey, make it a cafepress coffee cup or something.

      • Laura Davis

        Erin, I put it on my office whiteboard! Honestly, I found this so liberating!

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