Years ago, I happened upon a poster that said:
"Dare to Fail Gloriously!"
Since then, it has become somewhat of a family motto, as each one of us is involved in some form of the arts, including music, theater, design, directing, choreography and writing. And while we love what we do, there’s no guarantee others will.
You see, one of the true challenges of any artistic endeavor is to create honestly. We owe it to our audience. We owe it to ourselves.
It can be scary to put oneself out there. Because when we share our art, we share the most vulnerable parts of ourselves...our hearts.
But it can also be exhilarating and rewarding beyond measure.
Through art, we have the power to make people pause. Think. Feel. We can make them laugh. Cry. Remember. We can inspire empathy and understanding. And we can promote connection.
Pretty powerful stuff, no?
So, how do we deal with the ‘dare to fail’ part?
|Come on in! The water's fine!|
First, you need to jump in. You need to start. A blank page can be intimidating. Inscribe that first word. Craft that first sentence. Hey! It’s not blank anymore! Keep going. Write that initial terrible draft. Odds are, it will be just that. Terrible. But that’s what revision is for. And getting started puts you way ahead of those who simply talk about it.
Second, don’t listen to the ‘no’-it-alls. Yes, this business is filled with rejection. There are countless people out there, from family and associates to professionals, who will tell you ‘no’ for a variety of reasons. But all it takes is one ‘yes’. And if I can do it, so can you.
Finally, connect with others who share your passion. Consider joining professional associations like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (scbwi.org), and/or participating with online communities such as the 12x12 Challenge (https://www.12x12challenge.com/), #PBParty (https://michellehauckwrites.com/contests/picture-book-party/), StoryStorm (https://taralazar.com/storystorm/) and Reading for Research (http://www.reforemo.com/p/reading-list.html), to name but a few. These groups not only instruct, inspire and guide you, but they’ll open your world to a treasure-trove of potential critique partners and true friends...ones who will be there to celebrate your successes and hug away the hurts.
And if that isn’t glorious, I don’t know what is. Will you accept the challenge?