It's not every day that someone willingly admits their failures. Better yet, it's even more rare when they are so humble as to find the positive gems from those failures and grow from them. Sharing them with the world... that tops the cake!
When I went to read Mridu Khullar's blog and realized that she'd highlighted a couple of her failures from 2007, adding lessons learned from each one, I was in awe. I greatly admire her as a fellow writer to begin with. I admire her even more for the humility she wears proudly.
At the end of her post, she asked, "Anyone else want to share their failures?" I've decided I will blog about a few of the mistakes I made this year and as I search my heart for the good in each one, I'm going to let the world know the lessons I've learned and how I plan on applying this new wisdom to my life in 2008.
Situation One: I don't want to get into specific details, but I was voted into a leadership position to start in January, 2007. I was told that I was the perfect choice, that I was young, inspiring, and would be just the motivation this group needed to go far. Although I really enjoyed my role, it was a disaster. I discovered quickly that I'd never please some members, who wanted me gone. The adversity became too great to deal with and was leading to my burnout, a huge step back for my health, and loss of sleep. I decided NOT to fight, and I respectfully stepped down and left the environment for good.
Finding the Silver Lining:
- The beauty of stepping down freed up my time and has allowed me to be more successful in all areas of my life.
- I've been able to write, sell, and learn far more this year than I would have had time for if I had remained in that stressful position.
- Although I can't please everyone, I don't have to lose sleep worrying about it. There is someone, somewhere, who will appreciate me--and what I can offer--in terms of inspiration, motivation, advice, and friendship.
- A LOT more sleep!
- This blog evolved shortly after this "situation."
- I do have the skills to lead, but I don't have to use them to help ungrateful people in stressful surroundings. I can apply my skills not only to benefit my writing and to help me reach my goals, but to help my readers reach theirs.
My Lesson: Don't take on too much responsibility too soon. Never let anyone coax you into a situation you're unsure of in your gut. Accept the things you cannot change and move forward, regardless of how bad it hurts. Sometimes moving on is the blessing, and the lesson.
Situation Two: As I scrambled this year to sell my words to various publications, I made a vital mistake: I didn't focus on the whole picture. Instead, I sent out tons of queries and submissions--in haste. Of course, this led to a lot of rejection letters via snail mail and email. :'(
I didn't receive rejections because I didn't have good ideas, and according to the editors' feedback, it wasn't because I'm not talented. It was because I didn't take my time and focus. My ideas and thoughts were scattered. I've heard a few times from editors themselves that I'm trying to cram too much information into one piece, or that it's not pulled together and focused enough.
Finding the Silver Lining:
- I discovered I'm more persistent and dedicated than I imagined I could be.
- I received critiques from editors. Why is this good? Because they took the time out of their crazy busy day to point me in the right direction. I've heard when editors do this, it's because they see potential in you and that's why they stop what they're doing to say, "Instead of doing this, this, and this, do that, that, and that." I'm honored and overjoyed to be able to say I received several critiques from editors this year. Now, I know where my focus will be in 2008. And I know I'll have more success!
- I wrote more. And I found that I actually had two or three stories within the body of one. Once I separated and polished them, I actually sold some of them.
- I realized that writing is my greatest passion. Not that I never knew it before, but I had a light bulb moment--the "a ha" that I could do this for the rest of my life and still crave more books, more articles, and more knowledge so I can write, write, write--including my book(s).
My Lesson: To slow down, focus, and choose quality over quantity.
Situation Three: I started this blog. In the beginning, I thought I'd focus mainly on sharing markets, books, and links to resources for writers. I've done a lot of that, but this blog quickly fell into a source of encouragement, inspiration, and a friendly "rest area" stop as you travel the cyber highway. I'm pleased with that, don't get me wrong. But somewhere along the way, I trailed off course. I added too many ads and cluttered it up 'till it looked like a flea market. I even lost a few readers because it took so long for my blog to load (which I'd been unaware of). And not all of my posts were as quality as I'd have liked them to be. I got lazy, I guess...
Finding the Silver Lining:
- I went from not knowing what a blog was to being a blogger. That, I'm proud of!
- I've made so many cyber friends via this blog--friends I cherish!
- Writing some of these blog posts actually inspired articles--that sold!
- I've learned "a little" html.
- I pointed my readers to markets they could submit their essays/articles to.
- According to the comments, I've managed to encourage and inspire my readers. That makes me smile and warms my heart.
The most important thing to me is the friendly community environment that is transpiring here. I want to give a special, sincere thanks to all my loyal readers who have kept coming back, commenting, and encouraged me to keeping writing the cyber highway!
I will do my best to continue to sharing markets you can sell your words to, writing books I love, and links to great resources that will enhance your writing in some way.
And... I'll definitely remember to share my heart, writing the cyber highway!
So, as Mridu asked: Anyone else want to share their failures?
Have you failed and learned from events that transpired in 2007? Can you find the silver lining--the good that came from it as Mridu did? Do you know how you'll take the wisdom you gained from your failures and apply it to your life in 2008?