Failure is not an option, because in writing failure doesn’t exist.
After writing 3 novels, published one last year and two coming out this year.
Your first success is completing that first sentence that didn’t exist before.
It isn’t a failure until you throw it away. That single sentence, paragraph, page, or full novel can be revised, rewritten, and redone entirely. Without the original script coming those revised words would not exist. Failure in writing does not exist. It is all in your mind. Stop putting yourself down. You can’t edit a blank page, and the only failure in writing is failing to write anything.
If you think you have a novel in you, then start writing it. If you want to write short stories and build up to that point, that’s fine too. The point is to have fun while doing it. If you are here for the money, you’re going to get burned. I know I have on all the promotion costs and other costs. We will probably never see a profit unless I sold a million copies. I’m not holding my breath and neither should you.
Some people say you should start off writing short stories or flash fiction.
It’s fine if you want to do that, I remember when I was in middle school writing a lot of stories by hand with a BIC pen, and then passing it around to classmates. They always loved the stories, but I’ll be honest they were nothing more than fanfictions of horror movies I loved back then. What can I say? I was in 7th or 8th grade then.
You may be asking. “How did you have time to write so much during class?” Well, I was in detention a lot. I have to thank my middle school detention teacher for making me an author.
In there you only had two options. You had to look busy, or you grabbed a dictionary and started copying it verbatim. Either way, you had to stay busy, so I wrote my stories. I remember thinking 20 pages were a lot back then, and it is when you write it by hand.
I did write before that and was encouraged by an English teacher in 6th grade to write my short stories. They were usually just little horror/action things about me and my friend fighting monsters and what not. Once again, I was in 6th grade so what do you expect out of an 11-year-old?
The point of saying all that above is to tell you that there is no right way to write.
See what I did there? There is no correct way to write something. There are rules in grammar, spelling, punctuation but not in writing “prose.” Your distinct voice is your prose. I tell stories like I would tell you them in person. I try to keep my language and prose the way I talk but I modify it enough to make sense in a novel format.
Writing is all about learning.
When you write that first novel it may be garbage. I wrote an entire novel last year called Black Sun which is still being worked on after Dreamer comes out, and it was “good.” Not great like I feel about The Decay and Dreamer, but it was just “good.” It had what it needed, but it just wasn’t up to my standards for a novel-length commercial project. It will come out one day, probably for 99 cents, but it was another learning experience.
I feel like I hit one out of the park with The Decay. It’s an amazing book that I think everyone should read, but part of being a writer is being honest with yourself. Really look at your work and if you think it’s utter crap then it probably is. That doesn’t mean toss out the entire attempt. For those, you can toss them out for free or use parts of it that were good and put them in your better works.
You will have books that are crap even if you wrote others that were masterpieces. You can’t win them all. Stop trying. Take the hit and learn from those mistakes. It costs you nothing but time to write the first draft, learn as you go along so you know what works and what doesn’t.
I’m sure if I released Black Sun right now people would love it or be meh about it. I doubt anyone would outright hate the book, but for me, after writing and learning so much from writing The Decay I feel like it would be a step back. I don’t want my next book to be a “step back” after the great reception The Decay received. It would make people think me and Lotus are a one-hit wonder and we really aren’t.
That’s part of the writing process. Admitting that you will not hit a home run every time. Sometimes you will strike out even if you wrote 70k words it can still be a complete miss. Trust me. I’ve read a lot of hot garbage people threw out there who probably applied the sunk cost fallacy and said: “screw it, someone might buy it.”
Don’t be that guy. If the work isn’t good enough revise it, then release it when it is. You may think your book is a turd right now but a year from now you may come back and say “this wasn’t that bad I can fix it.” Writing a novel isn’t a race to the finish line, it’s a work of art you tailor until it’s finished.
Writing is not about success or fame or money. It is about learning, growing, and getting better. It is a thing that you can only get better at by doing it more. The more you write, the more you learn, the better you will become. In writing, failure is not an option, because it doesn’t exist. If you put words on paper, it is a success because you started it.