Demystifying the Writer’s Fear of Failure

Demystifying the Writer’s Fear of Failure

Sarah Labrie on Why Writing is Supposed to Be Difficult

Writing well is hard. All writers know this. So why don’t we talk about it more? But we do, I hear you groan. All writers do is complain. Well, true. But it’s also true that most of that complaining comes after said writer has achieved some modicum of success. The back pages of the Best American Short Stories anthologies, for example, are replete with different versions of one tale told over and over: facing constant rejection, a writer wrestles with the prospect of giving up, then a phone call comes at the last minute, telling her that everything she’s ever dreamed of is suddenly about to take place.

When the prospect of failure lies just over the horizon, we don’t like talking about our unfinished drafts, rejected submissions, or impossible-to-fix manuscripts quite as much. The well intentioned rejections from literary magazines and the “no” emails from agents—sure, they make great dinner party fodder after pub day, but not when we’re still waiting for somebody, anybody, to recognize our hard work. Even in this, the era of “fail fast and fail often,” for many writers, to admit to not having gotten there yet feels like acknowledging the very real possibility that we might not ever get there at all. Read the full excerpt at LitHub..

The essay excerpt above is from “On Writing”, written by our own Sarah Labrie! You can read Sarah’s full essay in Graffiti.

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