Last week I wrote “If at first you don’t succeed… . This week I’m following up with the last part of the maxim. Try, Try again it goes and considering it’s so close to the end of the year, it seems appropriate for new beginnings and such.
As someone who’s made many mistakes in life, it’s only proper discussing the try, try again part. To name a few of many attempts I’ve completely botched I’ll start with relationships. I’ve floundered through three marriages and three divorces; and that’s just marriages. I’ve taken the California Bar Exam either six or eight times—I can’t even remember now—and I still didn’t pass it. So that left me with a $200,000 (and steadily accumulating interest) student loan debt for a law school education I loved; but still have no idea how I’ll ever repay it. In the last several years, the novels I’ve written, articles, and pieces I’ve submitted to publishing houses, magazines, or other places for publications have either been out right rejected or I’ve received no response. Those are only the failed attempts off the top of my head. There are plenty others.
So I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic of failures. But, considering this week’s topic it does give me pause as to how many times one should continue try, trying again. I can’t answer that for anyone else, but for me I have a disposition that’s always been one of non-believing. If I’m told I can’t or shouldn’t do some particular thing, I ignore it if I think or believe I can do something or want to do it, then I continue striving for it. I strive until a new or different goal is finally carved out of the stone I’ve banged my head against in my attempts or I’m guided in a different direction.
Here’s what I mean. After all those bar exam attempts, I reevaluated why I continued along this path because after working in the field of criminal law for several years, I knew I wasn’t interested in practicing law so why continue taking the bar? If I passed it, got a job, and worked in the field, I’d have been miserable. So I stopped and waited for guidance to my next direction. Through a relationship, I found my next direction was returning to my first love—writing. That relationship didn’t work out–shocking I know–but the direction I got from it did work. So, after having worked many years at “jobs,” I’ve never had a career, its allowed me to retire, with a modest pension. My modest pension allows me to learn the art of writing.
Writing, as it turns out, is an art like painting or drawing and I have to learn its techniques, tricks, and forms which will transform mere writing into art. Writing isn’t what I’ve always thought it was—that is, a person has an interesting life to write about so he/she sits down and writes it. That may be a starting point, but beyond that it requires killing old ideas, thought patterns, and beliefs to allow new ones to replace them among other things. How quickly I learn the art of writing is directly proportionate to how quickly—or slowly—I’m willing to release old ideas. It’s a long, bloody battle I’ve set for myself, but the good news is, I know what it’ll require and willing to travel the path. This is where having a stubborn nature works for me.
We’ll see how it goes. I’ve written my novel twice now, and still not satisfied with the final product. The publishers weren’t satisfied with the final results either it seems, so back to the drawing board, with new tools and techniques to try, try again because I didn’t first succeed. It’s only time, right? and that I have plenty of. Stay tuned.
Til next time, Ciao