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Giving Yourself Permission To Fail

21 June, 2008

I’ve noticed this subject coming up on a few blogs recently. The general idea does pretty much what it says on the tin: you give yourself permission to fail in your writing. To write stuff that sucks and that no-one will ever  read. The sort of thing that you write when you’re just starting out, perhaps as a teenager and that you still cringe to think about now.

On first glance – or thought – this seems like a strange idea, particularly if you would one day like to be published. Why would you want to write something so terrible that no-one will ever read it? You’ll never make any money out of it, you won’t be proud of it and it will feel like a waste of time. So why would you want to give yourself permission to fail? Because it won’t be a waste of time at all.

Some of the best literature has been written because the author allowed themselves to take risks, and it is this which equates to allowing yourself to fail. Often, when you’re taking a risk and trying something new in your writing, there is every chance that it will go horribly wrong. You will have failed miserably. On the other hand, in taking that risk and allowing yourself permission for things to go wrong, you may just end up with something wonderful. Something original, fresh, maybe even bordering on unique. Something that no-one else has ever done before because they haven’t taken that same risk.

So, there you have a reason to take risks and sometimes allow yourself to make a mess of your writing: because in doing so, you might just come up with something brilliant.

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