Monday, January 14, 2013

You Are Not A Failure

So. 2013 is finally here. You may or may not have resolutions. I sort of have a few, but yeah. It's only sort of. I'm bound to break them if I try to accomplish them too hard. *is lazy* 

Last year, I learned many things about myself, both as writer and person. I also learned many things about life. Of all those things, I struggled with one truth the most: I don't have to understand why things don't go my way immediately. I got to thinking about this particular truth after a few days of reminiscing about high school. Lots of things didn't go my way back then. Lots of things did. I have moments where those that didn't tend to outshine those that did. Sucks, but that's how it is for me. 

One part of the frustration caused by Things That Didn't Go My Way is simple: I had no idea why they happened. I was at a total loss. The moment something goes wrong is the moment I start to pick that thing apart in the attempt to find out where and why I failed. 

The problem? Sometimes the moment something goes wrong isn't the moment you figure out why.

Case in point: my high school reminiscing. I remembered someone in particular. A guy (please stop staring at me like that...). I thought this guy was magic, folks. The kind that inspires you to find your own brand of awesome. I thought he was going to rule the world and shape it into the best version of itself. And I thought I was going to be right there, witnessing it all in his proximity.

He hasn't changed the world, but the world has changed him.

Sometimes he likes his life. Most of the time, he doesn't. He has more regrets than laugh lines. Which is why I'm here today to tell you what I wish I could tell him: you are not a failure

Didn't meet all your goals for the year? You are not a failure.

Haven't been able to write in months? You are not a failure.

Don't know how to fix that plot problem? You are not a failure.

Agents and editors rejecting your manuscript? You are not a failure.

Not selling as many copies of your book/ebook as you wanted? You are not a failure.

Why are you not a failure? Because there will come a day when you look back at one moment, or several moments, and you will understand why Things Didn't Go Your Way. I certainly understand why Magical Boy and I aren't living the daydream I had back in high school. He didn't lose his magic--I simply found mine in a reality far stronger than that daydream. You'll find your answers, too.  Spoiler alert: better things are waiting for you. The trick is to recognize them when they cross your path, and seize them before they leave without a trace.

You've been warned. Now go live your life in 2013, not the past.

And have a happy Monday :)


  1. So true! I used to absolutely torture myself by reliving awkward or hurtful moments, obsessing over what I could have done differently. But other than (maybe) preventing me from making the same mistake again, it wasn't a productive or healthy use of time and energy. Long time to get to that realization, but it's a big load off if you can reach that state!

  2. So poignant. Thank you for sharing this...days like today, I too need this reminder.


  3. Hindsight is much clearer farther down the path. Thanks for this, Amparo. I have a lot of goals this year, too, which I'm not 100% sure will work out. *is lazy with you* But I've learned from last year to take bite-sized bits out of my lofty goals rather than expecting to swallow an elephant whole. Mixing all sorts of metaphors, aren't I? :)

    I'm really looking forward this year, especially to seeing what Amparo Ortiz has in store for the world. You have the power!

  4. Thanks for this post. It's a great one for the new year too. We all need to be reminded why we're not failures - especially when we get into querying and start to feel our worth rides on whether an agent likes our work or not. That's simply not true.

  5. Great post! I'm going to write "I am not a failure" one hundred times. Maybe then it will sink in. :)

  6. Always good to hear as I battle the "Why haven't I heard back from them?" struggle over submissions.

  7. Thanks for this pick-me-up. I've been in a bit of a funk lately between finishing up my never ending book and applying for new jobs (hello self-esteem killers). It's nice to be reminded that failure is not really failure.


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