Failure : a temporary option

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This is hard. I don’t mean writing. Everybody knows that writing is hard. I think that I’ve seen at least three memes illustrating that on Twitter this week. What’s really hard is sticking to arbitrary self-imposed deadlines. I have accomplished some things that I meant to. I typed up a bunch that I’ve written in “Frogsong”. I joined a beta-test group for a new online story publishing format. I’ll tell you more about that as I learn more. I may have found a beta reading partner too.  I think that “Frogsong” will be perfect for both.

But it’s not enough. It’s not my original plan. While I did post more on Twitter and Facebook, I keep chided myself that I could have done so much more. I have considered it an accomplishment that I posted something on Twitter once a day. I want to develop a “presence” or whatever, but that’s not going to do that.  I need to do more. Sometimes I participate in a writing game like #MuseMon or #1lineWed. Sometimes I comment on my progress on editing “Vibrancy” which has me the most down in the dumps right now.

I had found a VERY talented editor and she convinced me that the story had real potential but I have to make the changes. So I dove right in.  That was the one big thing I had put on my goals. Make the changes and submit the story to a journal or magazine for publication. Within the first steps into editing I began to drown myself in self-defeating questions. How long ago did I write this? Why did I think this was any good at all? If I make all of these cuts, will there be anything left?

I keep telling myself that other writers have these doubts, other people who try to create things but while I make myself do the work, I feel like I’m so out of my depth. Seeing my work through someone else’s eyes can be really painful. I thought about posting some of the sentences that my lovely editor had marked for deletion but looking at them from her perspective I am just ashamed. I wanted to show you how pretentious my writing had been but to reveal that to you now that I know the truth makes me feel so exposed. I might as well strip naked and run down the middle of my very public street.

So I thought about quitting. Being a writer is not all that I am. I’m a wife and mother. I drive to work every weekday as a professional librarian, where I catalog a multitude of books that somehow found their way to publication, despite their level of writing. It’s easy to go to work and earn my paycheck and bury myself in the odd minutia of cataloguing rules and formulas. I’m actually proud of my ability to navigate the complexities of that world and I get paid to do it. Maybe I should just pack up my writing journals and my self-imposed goals and let go. Just be what I already am.  It would be so easy.

Honestly, I only entertain that thought for just fleeting moments. The point of living is to not be stagnant, keep moving forward, keep improving.  “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” So what if I didn’t fulfil my goal for this experiment. Failure should be treated as a temporary condition. Sure, I’m disappointed in myself but I’m not out of the running yet. (Brace yourself for a platitude…)

I can only truly fail when I stop trying.

So, I’ll be back next week with new goals and hopefully a couple of updates.  For now, let’s celebrate my cat of the week. The picture above is of Oreo. She came from the same irresponsible people that left us Friday. We found her gasping for breath in our backyard and took her to the vet. She had a lung infection causing her lungs to fill with fluid. The vet at the time told us that we should put her down because the chances of fixing her were too slim. Her owners at the time said that they couldn’t even afford to pay to have her put to sleep. My wonderful husband decided that this vet was an idiot and took Oreo to a different vet who cured her condition without a hitch. We took over ownership of Oreo and she has lived with us for the past five years.

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She is a sweet cat that is shaped like a miniature black bear, with bugged out eyes like the actor Steve Buscemi. She is actually Friday’s aunt. She had nursed him with her kittens when his mother tragically died. About five seconds after this picture was taken, the two of them were beating the crap out of each other.

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