I am a failure…a fraud. I claim to be a writer, but I did not finish my sabbatical project. I did write…not every day, but I wrote. Does that make it a success?
I tell my students that all they need to do is try. “Write something,” I say. Even if it’s awful, you can fix it later. I give them chance after chance to get it right. Some students take all of those chances, and they eventually get it right…or at least close enough. Some students stop trying, and that’s OK, too. They’ll find a time, hopefully, to try again.
Yet, I’m not as kind to myself. I only give myself one chance to get it right. I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, and I’ve been beating myself up over it for nearly a year. So, it’s now time to come clean.
I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, but I did revitalize a 20-year-old novel I had been ignoring despite its loud voice in my head. I must finish it whether it’s publishable or not.
I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, but I created a few teaching exercises used by hundreds, maybe even thousands, of students nationwide.
I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, but I hiked miles and miles and took hundreds of photographs.
I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, but I took a course on computer coding and remembered how hard it is to be a student.
I didn’t finish my 250-page memoir, but I learned that sometimes what you intend to write just doesn’t come out the way you want, but what does come out is what’s intended. So, I ask you: did I really fail?
I try to be open to lessons, but this particular failure has been hard to face. I’ve been waiting to be punished…to be confronted for this failure, but I’m afraid it isn’t this failure that will ultimately be my demise. Instead, it will be my failure to face failure that might just be my undoing.
Wish me luck, dear reader.