I’ve dubbed 2017 ‘The Year of Failure’. My current wish is to stay true to the spirit of that name.
I’ve been writing to some degree or another for my entire life. At 16 I figured that writing movies was going to be that thing that I did. While I’ve done so for the last 23 years, I really haven’t.
As of writing this post I’m a couple hours fresh off of completing a first draft of my 13th feature length script. I’ve written more than 30 short film scripts. I’ve even shot a couple of them and had a few produced as one act plays.
That’s not nothing, but it’s not really a thing either. For all of it I don’t have much of anything to show.
There are people out there that are just happy to be doing something. “The journey was important and would you look at that? We created something. Slap our names on it. Everything is awesome!” I’m not one of those people. I’m much, much worse.
I get this idea in my head of, “I want to do this.” The problem is, the “this” is a very, very specific thing. It’s something that is never going to be an actual thing regardless of money, means, or opportunity. Nothing ever survives intact coming out one’s head. What I end up with isn’t that idealized vision in my head. It is usually a very pale imitation and so becomes something not worth pursuing.
This is a very apt description behind the root cause of every hiatus I’ve taken in my life as a writer/musician/filmmaker/programmer/designer/hacker/[insert thing I’ve flirted with here]. In some cases, it was fleeting interest or desire. In most, the underlying factors were being unable to appropriately digest failure.
Writing is one of those strange things for me. It never goes away. It may get suppressed or aimed off in a different direction, but it never goes away. I always come back to it. I’m a better person when I’m writing and some of the most emotionally unstable times in my life were when I was wasn’t writing. I’m still unsure if those were symptom or cause.
I could, quite easily, write for personal enjoyment. People do it all the time with all manner of hobbies. I’m not going to find that satisfying. I know, because that’s what it has already been for over two decades. I’m not going to stop writing, nor do I want to. That leaves an obvious alternative.
- I am going to be driven to do this thing.
- I am not going to be satisfied doing this thing as a purely personal interest.
- I am to fail to realize this thing as a replica of the thing in my head.
- I am going to be disappointed and discouraged by those failures.
The things in my life that I am good at and proud of are things that I have failed at and continue to fail at. In specific contexts I am brilliant at failing (sometimes intentionally) and building things back up again. Those contexts just happen to be things I didn’t feel self conscious about failing. Which brings me to my final point in the broad definition of The Year of Failure.
- Those failures and disappointments can go fuck themselves.
It’s a bit of naming mistake to really focus on 2017 here. The truth is, I’ve already jumped into this. The above mentioned feature script is just the first step. It was entirely a script written under deadline (three months from idea to edited draft) with a goal in mind (submit to a competition).
I have no illusions, I’m paying for a competition to contribute to someone else’s winnings. That’s okay. If you’re going to fail anyway it’s best to do so fearlessly and with abandon. In that respect, the journey actually is the important part.