Beth Hautala

Children's Author


Failure Isn't Fatal

It's true. You don't actually die. I speak from personal experience. Failure isn't fatal. If it were, there wouldn't be a single breathing speck of humanity left on this planet. Each and every one of us lives with varying degrees of failure. And as depressing a thought as that might be, this ragged Monday morning, it's also a rather nice realization.

Okay, hold up. Before you close this window, give me a chance to explain.

I hate failure. I'm not some sort of masochistic failure-monger. It's actually my greatest fear. But here's the thing: failure is the perfect avenue for Grace. —It makes room for change, realization, wonder, and ultimately, success.

About ten years ago I had the perfect book idea, and then a few years later, another one. I wrote first one novel and then the other. They were edited, critiqued, queried, and ultimately rejected. Both of them.

I deleted both files from my hard drive.

These rejected books felt like certain evidence of failure in my writing life. I would never make it. I couldn't write. My ideas sucked. I sucked.

But after a while, a couple of years actually, something happened. A realization. Those failed attempts at noveling became something I needed to do before I could write the story that eventually earned me a "yes" in the querying world. I had to write those two failed books, go through the process of editing, revising, querying, and rejection so I could learn how the thing is actually done—earn an education of sorts. Also, so that I could get those excess words out of my system, making room for the ones that would matter.

So, how was your weekend? Did you receive a rejection? Have you written a red line through one more name on your list of coveted agents? Don't give up. You don't suck. Your idea doesn't suck. No one on earth can tell your story exactly as you can, and even if your current WIP isn't the one that ultimately ends up on shelves, it will most certainly be part of what gets you there. The publishing industry isn't about statistics, it's about beautiful individual books. And the world is waiting to read yours.

As Samuel Beckett said, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

Failure isn't fatal. Not in the least. So write on.

Happy Monday.