Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Writing: The benefits of failure

By Dennis Mellersh

In your efforts to learn to write well and then applying your skills to learning how to write a book, you will, like all new writers, experience failures – a  recognition on your part  that what you are attempting to accomplish with a particular piece of writing just isn’t working.

To anyone in the process of becoming a writer, recognition of a failure in their writing can be discouraging, and many even lead to thoughts of feeling worthless as a writer.

Yet actually, experiencing failures in writing, and more importantly, recognizing when you have a failure, is a good sign – it means your discernment as a writer is growing.

Having the ability to recognize when your writing is not as good as it should be means that you have established standards for yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Recognizing that your writing on a particular project is “just not coming together” means that you really are becoming a writer. Failure is a fact of life for even established, successful writers who regularly produce books.

As you grow further in learning the craft of writing, you will also acquire the ability to determine whether a given “failed” writing effort on your book can be salvaged by editing and rewriting, or whether it is so deeply flawed in concept that it will never work, requiring you to start fresh on a entirely new approach.

For further study on reasons why writers abandon a writing project, there is an interesting essay online from The New York Times Sunday Book Review, March 4, 2011 titled, Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?


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