Failure is actually an option

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Details about my books, Writing Stuff
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You know that  phrase they always spit out in movies? “Failure is not an option!” the typical action hero protagonist shouts to his plucky sidekick. It’s a normal thing, really. But, how many people actually take that phrase seriously? Sure, it depends on the context, but you hear it enough times, and you get to actually start believing it yourself. This is especially harmful for a writer. For writers, we have to deal with a lot of things. I mean, I’ve dealt with very little in comparison to a few writers I know, but I’ve heard of stories where writers give up after a few failures. Why? Because failure isn’t an option, apparently.

But, according to the title of this post, it is not. (And we all know post titles do not lie) I’m going to talk about why it is an option.

A few days ago, I made a movie. It was pretty terrible. When I first watched it, I thought it was awesome. But, as time passed, I grew more and more dissatisfied with what I had created. No one that watched it really liked it, but they didn’t have the heart to tell me that it was… well, terrible. So, of course, I was a bit sad. When you spend the time to create something, you put a lot of yourself in it. And, subconsciously, we think that if people don’t like something that we make… that makes us an unlikeable failure.

Sad, but true. However, I snapped out of that thinking and decided to make a new movie. A better one. Because I realized that while shouting that failure isn’t an option in movies is the coolest thing ever (although it depends on the movie), it is an option in real life. Some may say that you make a mistake on a job, and that’s it. Failure isn’t an option there.

But, because of my little experience in other occupations, I’m talking about life for a writer. Awhile ago, I submitted to a literary agent. In fact, I talked a little about rejection/failure in this post. 

Looking back on it now, I was a bit too flippant about it. Failure is a serious thing, and I’ve matured since then. (That was practically a month ago..) Now, it’s okay to fail in writing. I’ve failed a ridiculous amount of times.

My first book was a failure, but I learned from my failures each time. For example, the movie I made? My failure in that was that it was pretentious and boring. (My worst enemies) So, now I know where the line between brilliance and complete nonsense is. Some may say that you’d have to be blind not to know the difference, but I actually did not know. Now I do. I worked hard on it for an hour, it was horrible, but I learned from it. That’s the point.

Here’s another tale of love and redemption, except without the love and redemption. I submitted a short story, Rakhul, set in the world where my book, the Line of Corruption, currently resides to this fantasy anthology. I didn’t get in. I wasn’t even shortlisted. And the short list was actually pretty big. Now, am I saying I wasn’t bummed out when I found out? Of course not. I was really sad. I had waited so long, and I wasn’t accepted. Acceptance is everything to writers.

But, I still wrote a short story that I was proud of. I wrote a short story where I had fun, managed to explore the past of one of my coolest characters… Yet I was bummed out? Looking back on it now, I realize I should’ve smiled and patted myself on the back. Because I was able to experience what being a true writer felt like. Sanderson wrote the entire Mistborn trilogy before he was published, and that’s how I get inspired from each failure. I think about the failures of my idols, and then I think about my own failure. In comparison, mine is miniscule. Not important. I’m very young, and I can say that I have written a book. The literary agent rejected me? So what!  It’s cool.

All I know is, failure, in the life of a writer, is plentiful. And it is an option that we can take. We aren’t bad writers if we fail, and we aren’t amazing writers even if we get accepted. The point is, writing is hard work. Failing is just another part of it, and that’s what interested me about it. All my life, I’ve heard about how depressing a writer’s life can be.

I think that the challenge that every writer should tackle is to take all that troubles head on and come out smiling. If not for yourself, then do it so you can win. That’s how I get inspired. I imagine that every page I write is another victory. I realize I sound like I’m giving a motivational speech, but… So what if I am? I like motivational speeches. And, I really think that every writer should remember the things I’ve said. I’m quite sure that someone has already said all of this, but if not, then I don’t want to take the chance of an aspiring writer giving up after one failure.

(Wait, Jian, no. That means he or she might be a competitor in your future!)

To which I say: Bring it on.

P.S: I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I was incredibly happy that my last post got to 29 Likes. I hope that this gets as many or more Likes, but if not, I’m just glad that there’s a chance someone might read this. So, if you thought this post was great, remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what other people think. Thanks a lot to the loyal followers of this meagre blog, and goodbye~

EDIT: A writer friend gave me the link to a post that surmises what I feel, most times, after finishing a story. You can check out her blog here.


  1. dotdotquote says:

    It took me five attempts to nail down the same story I’m currently writing. That’s 209,000 words, 6 Word documents and five failings, but a better story overall.

    I read once that the story an author publishes is never his first, second or even third – its often the fifth, sixth or seventh if he’s lucky. I scoffed at first, but now I understand what that means.

    (P.S) That bit about your movie made me think of this comic. As a Graphic Design it’s the story of my life:

    • J.A. Romano says:

      Ha! That’s genius. And I like to think that I got a bit lucky. My first attempt was kind of YA. My second attempt was at the crime genre, and my third attempt was at the dark epic fantasy sub genre. And I honestly had more fun than I did when writing YA during my second attempt, and even more fun writing dark epic fantasy after my second attempt. I hope that LoC does get published, though. : )

      Thanks for Liking and commenting. Now I’m going to edit that picture into the post. xD


    thanks for sharing your experience as a writer……….
    i can feel your heart in it……..

    All the best……………

  3. MishaBurnett says:

    I think giving up is also a perfectly valid option, if what you are doing isn’t working. I have come to realization that I am spending a lot of time doing something that I am not getting paid for and don’t enjoy doing. So why am I doing it? Just because it might someday start working? No, that’s not something I believe any more.

    • J.A. Romano says:

      It is certainly a perfectly valid option, but I like to believe that writers each have their own niche. And if I had given up after my first book, I would never have found my niche right now. Thanks for commenting. I really appreciate it. : )

  4. C.Hill says:

    What was that quote again? 🙂

    “And many times, more times than thought of, considered, we must lose the game.”

  5. tktrian says:

    A thoughtful post! Indeed, failure is an option. Even if one’s goal is to become a NY bestseller and yet it never happens in their lifetime, it’s better be glad of the things you still did and accomplished than be sad over, well, failure. “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”, right?

    • J.A. Romano says:

      It seems like everyone has a cool quote for this subject. xD Yeah, I’d have to agree. It’s better to have written and lost than to not have written at all. (Original saying – Copyright J.A. Romano)

      XDD Jk.

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