A story: Well after he’d become a world-famous inventor, Thomas Edison was asked to send a message to a gathering of young people. Here’s the gist of what he said,
“To accomplish things there must first be an idea that the thing is possible. Then the watchword must be to try and keep on trying with enthusiasm and a thorough belief in your ability to succeed. If you are convinced that a certain thing can be done, never mind what the world says to the contrary; experiment, never give up.
“Forget the word ‘disappointment.’ Failures, so called, are but fingerposts pointing out the right direction to those who are willing to learn.”
What an inspiring message for us all – let’s unpack it a bit:
To accomplish whatever we choose to do:
First, we must have the idea that it’s possible – that it’s within the realm of the doable.
Second, we must try and keep on trying, despite the difficulties.
Third, in the face of all obstacles, we must retain our enthusiasm and our belief in our ability to ultimately succeed.
Fourth, we must ignore what the rest of the world thinks about what we’re doing.
Fifth, we must keep on experimenting and never give up.
Sixth, we must forget the word ‘disappointment’ and so-called ‘failures’ – just jettison them from our lexicon.
Seventh, we must view any so-called ‘failures’ we encounter as guideposts to success.
Eighth, we must be willing to learn and to use failure as feedback.
What a straightforward recipe for dealing with the inevitable ups and downs we face as writers! The clunky plot, the shopworn dialogue, the one-dimensional characters that resist our attempts to flesh them out. All these are fixable, if we try and keep on trying, if we forget the word failure, if we never give up. Bravo, Thomas. Write on!