“Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt.”
Fail, fail again, fail better.”
“If we don’t get lost, we’ll never find a new route.”
Joan Littlewood, theatre director
Just today, I was inspired to pull from my bookshelf a spiffy little book called, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden, a long-time Executive Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi. Our pal Paul is pithy, witty, and direct. He’s also pretty counter intuitive, which is exactly what a high-powered advertising guru should be. Here’s part of a short chapter that grabbed my attention:
It’s Right to Be Wrong
“Start being wrong and suddenly anything is possible.
You’re no longer trying to be infallible.
You’re in the unknown. There’s no way of knowing what can happen, but there’s more chance of it being amazing than if you try to be right.”
The big message that leaps out of me from these words is this: It’s OK to get lost, to be confused, to fail, to be wrong. In fact, it’s more than just OK, it’s actually a great place to be because you’ve run out of old, predictable answers and ways of doing things so “suddenly anything is possible,” precisely because “you’re in the unknown,” where everything is fluid and anything can happen.
Right now, to be honest, I’m confused about my YA novel: It’s clear from marketplace feedback that I need to do more work to get it to the next level, but I’m not totally clear about what steps to take. Which means that I’m exactly in the place Paul talks about here: the unknown. It’s a bit scary, but it’s also exciting, because anything can happen. When you’re open, the whole world can flow into you. And that seems like a great place to be. So if you’re feeling lost or confused or like a failure with your writing right now, then breathe a sigh of relief because you’re exactly where you want to be: The sky’s the limit! Write on.