Don’t Quit — No Matter What

My interpretation of Mr. Bradbury’s quote is that if I’m a writer, I need to write. And keep writing.

It’s interesting — and comforting — that he didn’t qualify the definition of failure any more than that.

How do writers define failure?

Every writer must determine their own definition of failure.

For some, the goal is not only to write, but write words that pull the reader into the world they’ve created. Where readers dwell and breathe and live for the length of the work. A place readers don’t want to leave. A world and people readers miss and think about for a long time after they’ve read the last page.

Other writers may define failure as:

— Not achieving their word count for the day
— Missing a deadline
— Receiving rejection letters
— Getting critiques that look like someone poured a bottle of red ink on every page
— Not convincing an agent to represent them
— Not selling ten million copies…or even ten
— Not getting a book contract from a publisher
— Getting reviews that are less than glowing, or downright hurtful
— To pour life and emotions onto the page, and not be read

Who should define failure?

Of any of the definitions a writer can devise to describe failure, the most devastating is to let someone else define it for them.

Life is too hard, and writing is way too hard, to be held captive and oppressed by someone else’s opinion or expectation.

What if I fail?

I consider myself a success if I can deal with all of life and still get some words on a page. And then edit those words until they reflect what I want to say to the best of my ability.

Last year, I made what seemed a realistic writing goal. A few weeks ago, I finally admitted to myself that I would not meet that goal. I’m still crying about it because it was important to me.

But like everything else in life, I need to decide if I’m a failure simply because I don’t meet a specific goal. And I must determine what I want to do about the goal I didn’t meet.

I opened my manuscript. And kept going.

I’ll also continue to do the other thing in life that I know works: Do my best and leave the outcome to God.

What helps you overcome the disappointment of not meeting a goal?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.


May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Quit — No Matter What

  1. A great post on not giving up. You are not a failure when you keep going. When you keep trying. Then one day… the miracle happens!

  2. Thank you Joni. This is a real encouragement. I often rely on the fact that God’s mercies are new every morning. We have a new day to adjust and continue working. With that day, comes God’s mercies. He was there for us in the disappointment and will be there as we move forward.

  3. Love, love, love your comments related to not letting others define failure (or success) for us!

    As for goals I set for myself, making a distinction between a desire & a goal helps me not be as disappointed if it doesn’t happen. A goal is something I have total control over. If I don’t, then I should consider it a desire rather than a goal.

    • Thanks for reading and for sharing. I never thought about differentiating between a goal and a desire. Will have to consider what that means to me. Appreciate you!

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