I started college off as a Physics major.
College was a major culture shock for me. First of all, I'd been homeschooled. Second of all, I was very much used to being the smartest person in the room when I was with my peers. Then I went to a tech school, with short, intense semesters full of long hours and deadlines, and a lot of other very smart people, many of whom were smarter than me. It was brutal.
As I struggled with my first semester of Calc, Physics, Chemistry, and Into to Materials, I tacked a sticky note up to my computer that said:
Do your best. No guarantees.
My best friend sat down at my comptuer one day and said, "That's really depressing, Guin."
"Is it?" I asked. "I don't see what's depressing about it."
"It's like you might fail."
Well, that can be an option. But is it such a bad thing?
I'm glad that at some point in my otherwise relatively charmed life, I grew comfortable with the idea of failing. OK, I admit, my delicate ego is never enthused by the idea, and I may be forced to curl up in bed with a pan of brownies as I grieve whatever plan just came to an awkward end.
I used to be paralyzed by my fear of messing things up -- preferring not to try rather than confront my own limitations. And then, I gave up the idea, somewhere along the way, that my value as a person was pinned to doing everything well. Whether it's a 65 on an Electromagnetism test, my embarassingly slow marathon times, a rough presentation at work or the realization that I manage to fail at STENCILING, a craft I think most kindergartners can manage... I'm OK. I'm still awesome, just maybe not awesome at that particular thing.
(Let's not even talk about the stenciling)
That is a very good thing to know, too, when I declare my art finished, only to be awoken to the fact that perhaps it was not ready to be loosed up on the populace. I *may* have cried in the car after a successful career novelist told me she got nothing out of my main character in a short story. I *may* have said something less-than-graceful to my laptop when I got a form rejection back off a request from a full. I *may* have twenty rejections from agents about Shards, which is likely only the beginning of the rejection pile.
I am still a good person. I am still a good writer. And I am getting better all the time.
So bring on the risk of failure. I'm not afraid of it.
I can live without any guarantees.
6 hours ago