Double Your Rate of Failure

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
– Thomas J. Watson

To be a successful writer you have to fail many, many times. And while we are taught to view failure as a character flaw. It isn’t in writing it’s just the way it works. I saw that reviewing the entries for the literary journal, when we said “it’s not right for our publication” we meant it. It just didn’t fit, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t fit in another venue. Letting go of rejection and moving to the next work isn’t easy but it’s necessary if you want to succeed. I still remember the woman I met at a writer’s conference who didn’t write for two years because her work got rejected from an agent. And she didn’t even get a formal rejection, just didn’t hear back. How sad to give over your love of writing to a stranger. Like other things you do in life you just get better with practice. Don’t write for an agent, a family member, a publication write because you love to write, because it doesn’t feel good when you don’t write. This year I am doubling my rate of failure, I’m sending out twice as many queries, to twice as many publications, trying out new styles of writing, and preparing myself for success. Now get back to work!

The Writing Nag

A beautiful blog on the hobby of papercutting. Another creative hobby I hope to explore this year.

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3 Replies to “Double Your Rate of Failure”

  1. I love this idea of increasing your successes by increasing your failures – even if it doesn’t mean working harder.

    I have a friend who has amazing (if fleeting) success with women based on this premise! He reckons that if he only wins 1 woman in 20 over, then by romancing 20, at least he’ll get one… whereas men who romance only 3 are much less likely to succeed. 😉

  2. I hadn’t thought of it this way, but it’s true you can double your success by doubling your failure. But what I really hadn’t thought of is Catherine’s comment about getting the girl!

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