“You can’t experience what you don’t try.” Seems like a “no-brainer” statement, doesn’t it? If you said “yes” or an equivalent “DUH”, I’d agree with you 100%. But, there’s more to it than just the words you see written there. Let me explain a little further:
Think back on a particular time in your life when you wanted to try something but didn’t go through with it. Got one? Now ask yourself why you didn’t do it. How many reasons (or excuses) did you come up with? Did those reasons change from when the opportunity was there and now as you think back? Probably so.
I ask this for a couple of different reasons. Over the last week or so, I started walking headfirst into completely uncharted territory. For one, I’m wrapping up a children’s book project that I spent entirely too much time finishing (see: Mandy and Samuel) and I’m finally researching agents to query. For two, I decided that I wanted to finally get off my duff and act on a lifelong enjoyment of cartooning/animation. Finally, it’s Memorial Day, and that adds a completely different facet to this topic.
On querying, I admit full on that this is a very scary process. Rejection, nervousness, outright terror (not quite, but go with it) all starts before you even send out that email or official mailing. I can see why a nervous new writer (or even a seasoned one) would shy away, seek other options, or just sit on the story rather than deal with this kind of pressure.
On the cartoon, I have always loved reading them and thoroughly enjoyed drawing my own little characters, but doing it for real? Geez, I mean, what if no one likes it? What if it sucks? I can’t draw like Stan Lee or some of the other absolutely amazing artist out there—what gives me the right to try and join them?
See the start of a pattern in the last two paragraphs? Failure before launch. The fear of failure stops many people before they can even get a start. They will never experience good or bad because they will never try.
The way I see it is that no matter what happens, it’s a win-win. Being an instant success at anything has the same odds of happening as lightning striking twice in the same place. Probably even worse. So, if Stan Stickman doesn’t get popular in a few years, I re-evaluate and see why it’s not working. The data will all be there. Then I tweak. If the agent I have in mind doesn’t like my book or can’t sell it right now, I try elsewhere or take whatever advice she gives me and rework some things. Maybe I only missed the mark by a little. But I won’t know if I don’t try. Conversely, if I get lucky or the product is good enough, then score one for the Gipper, right? Who snubs their nose at a good thing?
Now, as for Memorial Day, all I can say on that is “just act.” Don’t dismiss why there is even a day to begin with, but don’t think you have to coordinate a parade either. Tell a service member thank you. Visit a memorial site. Say a silent prayer—whatever you choose to do. Just do your part in some form or fashion. Many people (yes, they are/were “people” above all else) gave their lives in an effort to directly or indirectly fight for and/or preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. Recognize that before you recognize how tasty your burger is. No one is asking for more than that.
All that said, what is it you want to try? Better yet, when do you plan on doing it? Soon, right?
Have a great day!
Failure graphic retrieved from ht tp://ochuko.wordpress. com/2010/04/16/failure-is-an-option/