When It Isn’t About Failing

I’m listening intently as writer friends spill their hearts about why they haven’t yet pursued their dreams of writing more fully.  And, as I listen, I’m trying to piece together my own reasons.

Slowly, and clearly, mine are emerging.

They aren’t pretty.

Each one feels as though it reveals a deep character flaw.

And, although I’ve never been one to shy away from writing about the hard things, I’ve also never reveled in shining a spotlight on my deepest cracks, either.

As I ask myself what plays a part in the hindrance of my dream of writing, I’m realizing that failing isn’t what worries me. A writer has to accept a certain level of failure with every push of the publishing button.

If, as Flannery O’Connor said, “I write to discover what I know”, then that is surely one of my strongest inhibitors.

My dream of writing is often stifled by my understanding that I don’t know much. I’m not writing, necessarily, for an audience that will “get it”. Although, it is such a beautiful feeling of community and camaraderie when that happens. I’m writing so that, eventually, hopefully, I’ll get it!


Putting words to feelings and ideas is a deeply personal thing, yes. Writing, and then discovering that I haven’t really got the foggiest idea of this concept I’m trying desperately to type my fingers around, stings.


How often my pride has indeed gone before my fall!

Thank you, God, for your grace!

And, while I’m being brutally honest, I’m also learning that a well written piece of writing takes painstaking effort.

And time.

Even if the germ of an idea seems to sprout and easily grow a life of its own, I am still left with the daunting task of fleshing it out. And worse, editing it! And this sometimes takes an immense amount of effort. I’ve often wondered if those moments when the seed of an idea takes root in my mind, but I don’t pursue it on paper are simply laziness on my part.

I am so very thankful for the grace to try again.

I do believe that Ernest Hemingway had it exactly right when he wrote that “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Indeed. It’s true. Not a one of us will ever arrive at that perfectly crafted body of work. When I leave this earth, it will be for a place that is ruled by The Master Creator, of All Words, Ever.

That means that I don’t have to cling to the hope of getting it right every time I make the time and effort to put pen to paper or type word to screen.  And, there is such freedom in the knowing of that!

For me, it’s not about failing.

It’s about The Grace in the trying.

Textured Ribbon_G7

This post was written in response to a prompt from my Writers
(In)couraging Writers community group. Visit here to learn more.

15 thoughts on “When It Isn’t About Failing

  1. I love that, Heather – “if He gives the Words…” Yes. Exactly that! And writing as if every word is the saving grace words that someone else may need in that exact moment? That’s the grand hope. Oh, how it is! Thank you for your kind encouragement, friend.

  2. This writing has been so hard lately. I fall into bed with exhausted after each post, and I don’t even think they are that deep. It takes so much energy at times. And yes, I can totally relate to writing so that I will get it. My book is a compilation of things that I wrote so that I would understand and believe. Hugs from afar my friend!

    • Thank you, Sweet Barbie! I’ll take those hugs. And I love being in good company, as I work this Writing Adventure out. I so appreciate your encouragement, friend.

  3. So glad you took the time to write these thoughts and bravely push “publish”. Several ideas hit right between the eyes in a good way but in a way that I will remember. I’m writing so that eventually “I’ll get it” and that it’s not about failing but the Grace in the trying. Whew! I’m holding onto these tonight and know that the next time I sit down to write, I will allow myself grace and remember that when God calls us to tell our story, He wants us to go “all in” even on those days the effort seems too much. Blessings my friend!

    • Oooh, Mary, I love that! Going “all in” even on those days when the effort seems to great for me. He makes all in possible, doesn’t He?! That is some perspective, right there. Thank YOU, friend!

  4. Missy
    I “get it” and I’m so right there with you! “the daunting task of fleshing it out”…this is where I get stuck most often. I’m so thankful that His mercies are new every morning and for the ocean of grace that I’m sinking in…thanks for your beautiful words friend ❤

    • Lanette – goodness, I love that you reminded me here that His mercies are, indeed, new every morning. Swimming in that ocean of grace right next to you. ❤

  5. Oh I love this!!! Missy – you hit the nail on the head… my head because I think you might be in it!!! I have struggled with these same things as well… and when it comes down to honing a craft – fear of failure isn’t what stops me as much as laziness and the willingness to put in the effort… OUCH!!! That stings but it is worth the pain.

    • You make my flailing about seem so much more bearable knowing that a beautiful Word Writer, such as yourself, experiences these feelings too. Once again, I’m grateful for your encouragement, friend. Thank you.

  6. If He gives the words, if we are asking indeed that He give the words, then every word will fall into perfect place for those ears who need to hear it.

    That’s what I tell myself every day, every click on the keyboard, every submission. And I hear Him say…

    Nothing is in vain.

    Write as if every word is the saving grace words someone needs. Then you’ll always see the “success”, even amongst the typos and such. It’s working for you. He’s working through you. You lovely, dear Heart you. ❤️

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