Success Means Accepting the Risk of Failure

Much has been said on the discipline of writing…of Process and Technique.  Many words have been penned to attempt an explanation of why a writer writes.  You can find plenty of analysis on the web for why some authors make it and some don’t.   Beyond amazing good luck, however, I think there is one attributing factor someone considering writing must take into account.


I came across a quote in my files this evening:


If you don’t allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.

Steven Galloway

What a wonderful reminder!  The Interminable Writer wrote a post titled Dare to Suck! about this very topic (link below).


Prolific writers are those most likely to produce quality work.  Why?  Their odds are the same as our odds.  The difference is the prolific writer has taken a great many opportunities to succeed or fail.  The average person thinking about writing might have taken the leap a dozen times.  The more you try…the more volume you produce…the more you improve your chances.


I’m not trained in statistics, but I know enough to provide a basic example.  Say writer one has produced 10 short stories this year.  Writer two has produced 100 short stories.  If the odds are 1:10 in favor of a good piece, writer one might actually have written one truly worthy short story.  However, writer two might have produced 10 of them.  See what I mean?


 The more you write, the better your chances because the odds are applied to a larger body of work.  If you allow yourself to write without worrying about how good it is and give yourself permission to write bad stuff as well as good stuff, you will increase your opportunities to write the really good stuff.  You are also learning, honing your craft, and developing your skills.  Doing these things also improves your chances of something great.


Faced with the daunting volume of words I must produce to keep my business fresh and entertaining, I must come to terms with the reality that sometimes I will suck.  Hopefully those pieces will get weeded out and never make the internet (fingers crossed), but I have to be willing to fail in order to succeed.


Life is full of profound lessons.  I’m glad I was reminded of this one.


Link to Dare to Suck!




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