“Failure is an event — it is not a person.” Zig Ziglar

Failure is part of the creative process, but that doesn’t make it easy.

When something doesn’t work, you have to start over (and over and over).

The flip side of failure, the other side of that coin, is the fact that we all experience it.

As a developmental editor I often read early drafts of stories without any real problems for the main character. A story starts when something changes, when the main character suddenly has a problem to solve.

Without a problem, the story doesn’t feel real to us. It is not our truth.

Another common early draft scenario I encounter is a story with a problem that is quickly solved.

Stories with problems that are easily solved don’t feel quite real either. Where are the failures? Where is the struggle that we all experience?

The stories that satisfy are the ones where the main character fights an uphill battle as things continue to go wrong. The situation gets worse as the story continues.

Despite all of the problems, we keep reading because we have been there too. Even in fantasy story that takes place somewhere we have never been, we identify with the main character because we have been there on an emotional level. We have lived that experience in some way. It is our truth.

This is why we keep reading until the story reaches the final battle in Act 3 and at long last, the main character finally figures out what to do.

You have to pick yourself up and keep going.

Creating isn’t easy. It is hard.

But after all of that failure, success feels so very good.

Failure is an event–

in the stories we write

and the stories we live.

Will you make time to create
and fail –and then keep creating this week?

P.S. On Sundays I have been sharing quotes about the creative process on another site, but now that the posts have evolved into writing about my day job as a developmental editor, it makes more sense for me to share these posts here with the #amwriting #kidlit hashtags. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.