From the Ashes of Failure – Hope Springs Eternal

I have never been a hope-springs-eternal kind of person. Never. If anything, I learned early on that failure and despair were so much easier to attain than success that they might as well just be sought out in its place. Why climb a ladder, when you can just as easily scuttle your way sideways to the non-triumphant ending. The journey’s shorter and your hopes don’t get dashed along the way.

And once you begin that journey of expected failure, a rut begins to form in the ground beneath you. It constantly leads you down that same path. Until you figure out a way to crawl up out of it. Until you give yourself permission to succeed, permission to aim for success. Until you give yourself grace. You can only break that pattern–that rut–once you begin to believe in yourself and in failure’s opposite and your right to it.

Anyway. I find myself at the end of a two-year battle with a novel I had to eventually chuck away. I swear, I will never look back on it again. My first missed deadline, my first broken contract.

And because I found a way to crawl out of that rut I dug out for myself early on, I’m going to give it another go. I’m now, once again, at the beginning of something. Starting fresh.

New words. New story. I’m trying to ease my way in… to have a soft landing into this new world I’m creating. In truth, my hopes for it are almost non-existent. I took such a beating with this failed novel, that it’s almost like I can’t imagine myself writing another word ever again.

But, hope really does spring eternal. That’s why I dove in to this new project. I need to break the cycle. I need to believe that just because I failed once, it doesn’t mean I’ll fail again. I don’t want to stop writing. I love writing. It was the story I grew to hate, not the process. I took a story and tried to bend it to the will of the publisher who didn’t want it in the form in which I created it. To be clear, this wasn’t the publisher’s fault. They’re a great publisher. It’s my fault for turning my back on the story in order to get the contract. I tried to reinvent a story that did not want to be reinvented.

There are never any guarantees that state just because you begin a novel that you will see it through to its ending. Many a novels have crashed and burned before completion. Lesson learned. The hard way.

I guess I learn all my lessons the hard way. Not that I’m a fan of that process, it’s just what happens. It’s frustrating, but it’s who I am.

I scrapped the novel. It’s gone. Without a trace. And now I write this blog post to hold myself accountable to what comes next. To remind myself to keep going.

As the song goes…

“Nothing’s impossible I have found,For when my chin is on the ground,I pick myself up,Dust myself off,Start all over again.”
I opened a new MSWord file and I stepped into a new idea. It’s all new and glowing and nice and pretty. My job now is simply to stick with it, to see if it has legs enough to get to the finish line. I owe it to myself to try. I’ve had 2 years of fruitless struggle with the old manuscript. I took something that had legs and I cut them out from under it. This time, I will write what I want to write and no one will see it until (if) I write those two magical words at the bottom of the last page. THE END. Until then, I carry on. What was it that F Scott Fitzgerald said? So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” I don’t know about the past, but I will beat on…and after the struggle I had, my boat is definitely against the current!
Wish me luck!
The books that DID make it to the finish line (proof, for myself, that not all of my projects fail). Click the image below to find out more about them:

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: