Failure is Just Another Word for Success

So a friend of mine, Alan, shared a link with me on the Facebooks.  It is funny and involves writing, so I am posting it here for your amusement:

For those who don’t have three minutes to spare for this video, here’s the gist: Success is hard to come by, but if you work at it, you’ll eventually get there.  This guy, John Green, is speaking from experience.  He wanted to write, he took some menial jobs after graduating, and eventually he found a mentor who helped him write and publish his book.  This is very great for him.  BUT, because there’s always a but, I can’t totally appreciate the happy message in this video because I have trouble with other people’s success stories.  Honestly, I do.  Because A) I am a person who is very prone to jealousy, so I am literally jealous of every successful author on the planet, and B) my brain is prone to anxiety, depression, and exaggeration, the last being evidenced by point A.  So when I see someone else’s success story, I tend to view it as them taking up my chance at being successful.  Like, I see success as a finite resource, and I work myself into a nervous frenzy thinking that if I don’t jump on that train soon, all the success is going to get used up and then I won’t have any chance at it ever.  Here is an illustration of this crazy view, in chart form:

Yes, I know that this is a crazy way to look at things, but hear me out.  In other careers, there is at least some guarantee that new positions will open up for newcomers because the old hats will retire/die.  But with authors it’s different, because authors can die and their books will still be published and put on the shelves and held as a standard that new authors must live up to.  It’s maddening!

And now I have officially been a Debby Downer for too long, so let’s move on to some lighter material.

There is this thing called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award that runs every year.  The submission period just opened, and yesterday I submitted one of my books.  I did this last year, too, with a different book.  And I didn’t even make it past round one.  But I didn’t give up, see?  I’m trying again with a different book, because I do believe that true failure only occurs when you give up, or worse, never try at all.  So I’m going to keep trying, and if I don’t make it this year, I’ll try again next year.  (I’ve got a lot of books to work with)  And if I make it to Round 2 this year, but not Round 3, then I’ll still consider that a win on my part, because that’s better than I did last year.  Also, I have to remind myself that this contest is very subjective.  Just because I don’t make it doesn’t mean my idea or my writing isn’t good.  It just means that the judges weren’t looking for that particular idea or style of writing.  So no, don’t give up.  Ever!

I don’t want this post to go on too long, but I realize some of you might be curious as to what books I submitted to this contest, so their summaries will be below the Word of the Day for those who are interested.  Not their official summaries that have to be all concise and carefully worded.  It’ll just be whatever I come up with at this particular moment.

Word of the Day: Perseverance (n) – Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Summary of Ink Stains, my 2011 submission:

Riley doesn’t know her last name or her parents’ names or anything like that.  She has some pretty bad amnesia.  But she does know how to kill a man with her bare hands.  She works for this super secret organization of vigilante-types, and she has a tattoo for every life she’s saved.  The best part is that she’s the only woman in this group of vigilante do-gooders, so the other guys give her a rough time, but some of them only do it jokingly (her friends Aaron, Joker, and Kris) and some of them, and by “some” I mean “one,” are really jerks (Paul).  So Riley does stuff along the lines of catching criminals, bounty hunting, body guarding, etc., but then someone starts leaving her little notes.  And these notes are totally creepy, like the person leaving them knows more about her past than she does.  And Riley is used to being on top of things and one step ahead, so when she’s put in this position where she’s suddenly the prey instead of the predator, it wigs her out.  And there’s also the fact that she has to figure out who’s leaving all the creepy letters before they do something seriously harmful to her or the people she cares about.

Summary of Hellbound, my 2012 submission:

Way back when, I did a post on books about dreams.  This is one of them.

Aiden is the son of Tor, who is better known as the Devil, and a human woman.  He lives in Tor (both the name of his father and the name of this Hellish dimension) which is also better known as Hell, and he hates it there.  Every now and then, a person conducts a ritual that allows a soul to escape from Hell/Tor and bind themselves to that person on earth.  It’s Aiden’s job to go to Earth and find the person who is possessed and bring the soul back to Hell.  But Aiden loves it on Earth and hates it in Hell, so he tries to prolong his stay on Earth by not doing his job.  If he doesn’t find the escaped soul, he doesn’t have to go back to Hell.  With me so far?  So yeah, the book starts with Aiden getting sent to a high school to find an escaped soul.  And at first he thinks it’ll be really cool because he’ll get to be around other kids “his age.”  It’s in quotes because he’s 366 years old, but since he’s immortal he still looks and acts like a teenager.  Right, so Aiden goes to school and tries really hard not to do his job, but then he meets this girl (as often happens in these types of stories) and starts to fall for her.  The problem is that this girl, Elysia, is clearly tied up in the evil soul’s plot, so he’s faced with this dilemma because saving her means he’ll get forced back into Hell, and then he’ll never see her again.  But if he doesn’t save her, obviously she’s gonna be in constant danger.  There’s also more to Elysia than meets the eye, though she is completely unaware of that, and I won’t reveal what that means because it’s supposed to be kind of a mystery.

And that’s it!  If you want to know more about either of these books, or read some of them, let me know and I just might indulge you.  Oh, and if you want to know the dream that led to Hellbound:

In the dream, there was this guy and a girl who fell in love in that vague sort of dream-logic way, and there was this scene I remember clearly where they were kind of lounging in a grassy park somewhere, on a hill, under a tree.  And then this man – early fifties, bald except for some hair around the crown of his head – in a white suit approaches and asks the guy, “Aren’t you going to tell her what you really are?”  Then the boyfriend guy gets all angry and the two of them kind of…run at each other, and they both burst out of their skins into these huge, dog-like creatures with immense bat wings.  The guy in the white suit is white, and the boyfriend character is red.  And they had this epic battle, like they both used their wings to keep themselves steady while standing on their hind legs, and then they shot into the air and had a huge battle in the air, and then somehow the white dog thing went away and the girl asked the guy, who had turned back into a human, what he was.  His response: “I’m a Reditor.  The Hero of Hell.”  And I woke up and was like, “What the what?  How do you get to be the Hero of Hell?  Does that mean you’re evil because Hell’s Hero would be a bad guy?”  So I wrote a book about it.  Don’t know where the dream came from.  I swear I’m not on drugs.  Ok, now I’m done.  Phew.

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Filed under books, Humor, writing

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