Today I Choose Active Failure

One of the recurring fears I’ve had in writing is that my brain will trick me. I’ll be doing fine and then something will happen be it anxiety or a major life change and eventually I’ll come out of it and realize that I don’t really want to write and all that time and effort that I spent on my writing, and all the people that supported me, was for nothing because it wasn’t what I was passionate about after all. Then last week happened. I spent last week packing and moving and in the middle of it had a caffeine induced anxiety attack (turns out a Starbucks grande green tea frappucino has way more caffeine than any of the others) that sapped any emotional energy that I had left. My partner and I separately and silently accepted that the only thing that would be happening that week would be moving so instead of going to the dojo he packed and instead of writing I packed.

 

And all week, all I wanted to have a place where I could sit, clear my head and create. A friend contacted me about collaborating on a project and I said yes, but that it would have to wait until after the move. And I hated it. It was driving me crazy not being able to work but wanting to so badly. I was frustrated and angry, and then I suddenly got happy. Because I had it. I had exactly what I was looking for. I had the desire to work, even in the worst of times, even when I was stressed, anxiety ridden and frustrated. I wanted to write, and that made me so unbelievably happy.

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Combined with this frustration is my almost super human ability to procrastinate, and I realized a while ago that I procrastinate out of fear. Fear of what you ask? Great question. If I knew the answer, I probably wouldn’t procrastinate so much. In a delightful turn of events I found Mur Lafferty’s Podcast I Should Be Writing at work today, and specifically her episode simply titled Crippling Fear. She specifically talks about fear of writing, of starting projects, how it holds her back and how she’s working on it not holding her back. She also discusses the idea of active failure as opposed to passive failure. She had mistakes and failures in writing and starting a podcast, but those were all active failures, ones that she talks about regularly. A passive failure is not even starting, from fear of the thing itself, it is forcing yourself to fail before you have even given yourself a chance to succeed. The entire episode is incredibly honest and well spoken and I highly recommend it. It came at the perfect time for me too when I no longer have any excuses.

  • Roommate with random need for things? No more roommate.
  • No space to work? Boyfriend gave me his desk and we agreed on our individual spaces in the apartment where we could each go to be in our heads and work.
  • No time? Have a job with a regular schedule that lets me have consistent schedules of all kinds including writing.

I have systematically removed all the things from my life that were my supposed roadblocks. Now its just me.

One of the things that I find lacking in a lot of our society is true and honest thanks and appreciation, especially to those who inspire us. In a time of immediate gratification and connection, we no longer take the time to talk honestly about what it is that motivates us and to let that be heard. So, once a month I’m going to do a post about a creator who inspires me. Yes, some of these will be people like Neil Gaiman. I can tell you right now that several of them will be some beautiful souls that I met through gaming and youtube, who are brilliant writers and creators and who deserve every measure of success in the world. All of these people influence me every time I sit down to write, and once a month I’m going to prattle on about how beautiful these people and their works are. Here are some of my other goals for the upcoming month:

  • Finish reading Sunborn Rising by Aaron Safronoff
  • Finish reading Nightlife by Rob Thurman
  • Start one of the books I picked up from the con last month.
  • Edit and record a story for my friend’s podcast
  • Edit a story for myself
  • Post at least 1 rough draft each week to my patreon
  • Post my weekly videos
  • Be awesome.

Yeah, the last one sounds silly, but we forget sometimes that we are fantastic, creative people, and we need to put that in our to do list sometimes, because some days you really have to be your own biggest fan to get you through to tomorrow. So that’s it for this week. All my excuses are gone, and I’m ready to get to work.

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3 thoughts on “Today I Choose Active Failure

  1. I LOVED this blog post; it spoke to me on so many levels. I too suffer from anxiety with my writing, I fear failing, I have “imposter syndrome”. I also feel like I’m not really a writer… Only to be working or driving and crave nothing more than my writing desk. And, finally, I’m also moving house and realising how ever spare moment is taken up with packing instead of being creative, and it’s driving me nuts.

    This post was testament to the fact that you can find people having similar experiences, and learn from each other. Genuinely enjoyed reading it 🙂 I’m glad you’re choosing active failure! (I’ll be checking out the podcast you recommended too!)

    Like

    1. Fear and imposter syndrome are rough and I’m pretty sure that literally every writer in the history of the world has struggled with it at some point. How many successful creative writers do you hear say in interviews “yeah, I just . . . . write things. . . its not a big deal” like they’re confused about why everyone is so excited. Moving is also such a huge creativity killer! But being able to sit down after and work feels amazing 🙂

      If you like I Should Be Writing, she also does another podcast with a cohost about writing called Ditch Diggers. I think they’re all on her website and on sound cloud.

      Like

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