Writing

Failure: Fundamental to the Writing Life

In an interview in Novel Voices, author Richard Bausch talks about how emerging writers must accept failure as a destiny. Rejection stings. We often feel as if we are the lone person whose work is rejected. But it’s a much more universal and integral experience than that, so much so that Bausch believes it’s imperative writers make it a part of their life outlook.

In the interview, he says, “If you’re not scared, there’s something wrong with you. Your talent will be tested, and you have to be willing to accept failure as a part of this. You say, ‘I accept failure as my destiny’ the same way you say, ‘I accept death as my destiny.'”

Failure: A Part of Life

I thought these words were profound and accurate. Failure is a part of the writer’s life. It’s inevitable. It’s what’s meant to happen. Get used to it. It becomes a fundamental piece of the journey, just as death is a fundamental piece of life. We try and we will fail. Rejection happens. That means we must try again — and again. Perhaps we must constantly assume we will fail so that when we succeed we’ll feel pleasantly surprised. In some ways, the idea is very Buddhist. Our first principle, our first rule, is that the writer’s life equals suffering. By keeping that in mind, we can cultivate gratitude and therefore, happiness with each small success. This makes sense I suppose since a writer’s solitary, humble, silent life is similar to a monk’s anyway.

Read Richard Bausch’s Ten Commandments for Writers. It will help you with rejection.

Have you been dealing with failure or rejection lately? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Karen Hugg is a writer and gardener living in the Seattle area. She is a certified ornamental horticulturalist and Master Pruner. When not digging in the dirt, she writes. She's been published in various journals, anthologies, websites, and more. Her life is happily hectic but she's lucky to have a patient husband and sweet children. Her pets aren't bad either. To learn more, explore http://www.karenhugg.com.

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