Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Finding courage in the midst of failure

It's not easy to fail repeatedly. It's not possible to fail repeatedly if you only try once and let your failure keep you from ever trying again.

I'm having a frustrating experience this week. I used to have a hobby aquarium... 4 years ago before all of my life got put on hold and we moved to Connecticut (I call those the Dark Years, that time in Connecticut...). When I had my aquarium(s) I kept angelfish. They were beautiful and so happy in my tanks that I had two mated pairs and produced a LOT of angelfish fry to trade back to my LFS (Local Fish Store). One might say that for a hobbyist, I was an expert.

So now that we've been back in California for 6 months, I decided to fill up my aquarium again. I spent a month preparing, cycling my tank, doing water tests and changes as needed to get things just right. Then I brought home three BEAUTIFUL little angels to live in my tank happily together.

That was Friday. Today is Wednesday and I am down to one. That's right. TWO of those angels have died in the past five days. I'm mystified. The LFS owner is mystified. I'm crushed and disappointed, too... and doubting my skill/experience. How could this happen??

I find that writing is a lot like fish keeping. There's a fragile, almost mystical balance we're all looking for. When it's good, we find that place where our characters thrive, where our agents think we're brilliant, where our novels touch lives and inspire others to write as well. And when it's bad... woe is us! We might as well give it up!

I'm in that bad place right now... both in writing and in fish keeping... and I keep reminding myself that only by making mistakes can I learn and grow... and that even though the disappointment of not getting it right is physically painful and emotionally crushing... trying again and getting it right is worth the effort. In the matter of fish keeping, I've been there before. In the matter of writing, I am trusting the experience of others.

Does anyone else out there feel this way?


  1. I'm so sorry you're finding yourself in this difficult spot. Always know it will get better and just take it one day at a time. There are bouts when I can't find the right words and want to throw in the towel. I just have to get up and do something else for a bit.

    Hugs to you!!

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge
    co-host IWSG

    1. Thank you for the hugs and encouragement.

  2. Hugs.

    Words are something aren't they. I know that the frustration means you're closer than you were before. We go through this time where we want something to work and we are good enough to see that our words aren't what we had seen in our mind. I feel like we do come out of that place, but this is a hard business. There are SOOO many people trying to do it. Even when you start winning contests, you can still be at the bottom of the heap. It does get better, if only because the raw feeling of fragile begins to scar over. After that, I don't know. This place doesn't last forever, but this is the place where most people give up, so if you push through this place, you'll be way ahead of the rest of the pack.

    I hope that helps, and good luck with your angel fish.

    1. Thanks Rena. Your blog post today felt like it was speaking to the black pit that I am facing right now... so thank you. And hugs to you too.

  3. My girls and I have tried various small pets so I know what you mean -sometimes it all goes so swimmingly and then you hit a rut where nothing goes right. Same with writing. We must keep swimming, just keep swimming... writing, just keep writing. It is worth the effort... IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT.

  4. Ah, so sorry about your beautiful angel babies! I hope you can figure out what happened so you can correct the issue. As for writing, just don't give up. You can do it!

  5. Like everything, writing (and angel fish!) involves mountains and valleys. When you are down low, look up. Enjoy the view above you. Everything takes a climb, but it starts with one little step. Good luck, with you fish and your writing.

  6. I always wanted to get guppy fry but it never worked out. Good luck, hope you figure it out with the fishies and writing. I always hope that the more failures I have, the closer I am getting to success.


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