What follows is all the things this author has failed at.
I feel cheery as I type this. Like getting ready for a tall glass of cold water after a hot, muggy, impossible day. Like a nice rinse on top of it. Getting cleaned up, clothed, rested, before putting on brightness and warmth and trying again, more humanly this time, until we need to take a glass of water and rinse off all the non-human stuff again. Non-human stuff. Bitterness, polemic, sarcasm, curses, regret.
The rite-of-passage for children becoming adults is, increasingly, no longer a valid driver’s license or a road trip or a hair on your chest—it’s nodding sagely at the notion that “we’re only human after all.”
Only human—as though joy or satisfaction or a small job done well were not the most human things.
So that’s why we’re admitting our failures right now. To stop identifying with the failures. We’ll end up admitting them again. I want to rinse this stuff off and try again. And not have any baggage when it’s time to learn something new.
Failing upward—I like succinct phrases like that. But here’s more a mouthful, more a fine broth that gets better the more you let it settle and simmer:
Jakoś to będzie.
Yakosh toe benjay.
That’s Polish for (essentially): “Act, without worry, for it will all work out in the end.”
An active (act without worry) and a passive (it will all work out) promise. Works and Faith.
Let’s start again, listing times we’ve acted and failed, because we’re going to act again. Without worry. For it will all work out in the end.
Here’s the Author’s personal professional failures. The reason for listing these isn’t to throw a sad Internet party. Like I said before, this is all about the cleansing effect. There’s another word for that, a Greek word: catharsis. Catharsis is the “cleansing and purging of the emotions.” It’s that feeling of your feelings being in order after watching a good drama or laughing with friends.
Of course, stories do catharsis best. That’s what stories are for. So I hope you find some hope from my story.
The formula is: A) list a failure, B) list a rewrite of that failure, C) try and do the same with yours, D) list your small and big wins too.
1. Wrote three uneven novel manuscripts, started but never finished dozens of short stories, and the only thing I’ve submitted and had published were two poems.
Rewrite: Finished three novel manuscripts, actually finished two or three short stories and learned lots of writing practice from the rest, decided that I wanted better for myself so now I’m pushing toward a deadline for a short story contest at the end of this year, and hey! Someone actually published my writing.
2. Started learning coding on Udemy and then stopped. Twice. In fact, I’ll link the course. Each time I keep stopping on the choose-your-own-adventure section, because I’m a perfectionist and I want to create a story that I can show off (on this website).
Rewrite: Nothing is stopping me from finishing that Udemy course. And it’s what got me started on this game dev journey in the first place. Without it, I might not have tried to self-teach myself at all.
3. Tendency to pick up hobby for a number of weeks and get through 2/3 of a course or a book and then stop for a few months, in pursuit of another hobby I left off a few months before that, leaving gaps in learning and feeling like a perpetual intermediate beginner.
Rewrite: I’ve now started a blog where I have a lot less leg room to go traipsing off into the woods, and, if I do go off the beaten path, I can document what I learned here and have a bread crumb trail back to the main path when that particular jaunt is done. I’ve created a new paradigm to get stuff done in. And though I’m ready to learn things in a faster, more organized, thorough manner, at least what I’ve learned so far is still there, a thin foundation, a few steps closer than I was before I started any of this haphazard learning. And learning is learning is learning.
4. Quit my day job, had a plan, tweaked the plan, forgot the plan, still don’t know what I’m doing.
Rewrite: Got a new job that’ll let me meet new people and still leave me time to write and learn. Adopting a new mindset: jakoś to będzie. Will be honest about my mistakes. Don’t see myself staying in a slump. Patience.
5. Moodiness. Inconsistency. Not walking the talk.
Rewrite: I know what I work on. Consistency is all about right now, day-by-day. I’m walking the walk right now. And when I’m moody, I can always listen to “Fresh” by Kool & the Gang.
That list could be longer, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s the sum of my main mistakes, and I’m sure yours fall in the same types of categories. Not my categories, but your particular habitual categories. Maybe you struggle more with workaholism, or not taking yourself seriously, or you simply don’t have the time to pursue your dreams right now, because you’ve got people to take care of, and it’s going to take some time to work things out.
Jakoś to będzie. Jakoś to będzie. It will all work out in the end.
In Excelsis Deo.
K.W. writes novels, short stories, the occasional ode, game scripts, and (with actual evidence!), this here blog.