Ruminating On: Tenacity

Failure.

What a strong word. That’s why I put it up there all by its lonesome. I sit back and let that word play over in my mind, wondering exactly how many things I’ve failed at in this life. The list is ever expanding, so I won’t bore you with details. Instead, I’ll tell you about a recent failure of mine. So recent, in fact, that my ass is still burning over it.

A week and two days ago, my daughter gave me an ultimatum. To add some perspective, she’s seven, loves her father very much, and is disappointed on a regular basis because Daddy seems to be always busy writing. Her challenge was simple, or so I thought. She was giving me a week to finish my new book (that was extended by two days because she requested that I play with her this weekend). After that, she would be absconding with my laptop for the course of two weeks. No internet. No writing. Nothing but fun and games involving a daddy and his Tum-Tum. Β I was already 35k into the new book, so I figured, Hell, why not. After all, I wrote Bay’s End in just under two weeks, and that book was 55k. Having such a head start on the new one, I knew it could be done. And easily. Boy, was I fucking wrong.

I wrote like a madman. You see, part of the stipulations of my daughter’s ultimatum stated that I was to be left alone so that I could write to my heart’s content. Everyone in the house acquiesced, holding up their end of the bargain. It was all up to me. That’s when the quagmire that is writing by the seat of your pants reared its ugly little head. I became stuck in a bog of my own making. Trudging through the muck, I found myself deviating from the course. So much so, that I wrote 23,500 words of pure, absolute nonsense. That novella length section is now in cyber prison and will not likely see parole anytime soon. You might be saying to yourself, “E., come on… it can’t be that bad.” Well, screw you. It is. Why? Because I say so. It’s my book, I’ll cry if I want to.

In the end, I failed. Today is the final day and I’ve only managed another eleven thousand words. This isn’t my first failure, but it hurts just the same. Honestly, the feeling in my guts couldn’t get any worse. This is where the title of this Ruminating On comes into play. I love being tested, but I refuse to be bested. I will take my two weeks off because I made a promise. But, I will return to this dirty motherfucker with bells on. I’m giving myself another seven days after this mandatory vacation. It’s called tenacity, and I’m so damn full of the shit is pouring out of my ears.

When I was younger, I was told everyday, without fail, that I’d become a failure at all things. It was my father’s way of telling me he loved me and that he wanted me to be just like him. Ever since I realized the man had no control over my future, I promised myself that even when I did fail, I would be the first one to recognize and correct that fact. Failure is nothing but an opportunity to try again. To be better. Because, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

Three of you got that quote. The rest of you need to look up Stuart Smalley.

Anyway, I’m going to fail. It’s a given. But guess what? You are too. That is the real point of this week’s blog. Whether it be a rejection slip from a publisher, or a job application that didn’t pay off, you’re not going to succeed every time. But failure should not be your focus. Your goal should be staying tenacious. Keep on fighting the good fight and press forward into the fray. Let the bullets from your detractors sail over your limboing form like your name is Neo, and dude, you know Kung Fu. The people that say you can’t do something probably aren’t doing it themselves. The ones that laugh at you when you’re down are normally beneath you anyway, so, a duck’s back plus water. If you get my drift. The only real and true failure is giving up. Remember that above all. You can keep retrying, restarting and reimagining things until they work for you. So what if you failed the first time. If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t appreciate the successes as much.

In summation, I want you to fail. A lot. I welcome failure because I learn from it. You should too.

I’ll see you folks in two weeks.

Tum-Tum, make it so!

E.

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20 thoughts on “Ruminating On: Tenacity

  1. Awesome blog post, E! If we didn’t learn from our mistakes, or failures, where would we be in this life? I think Ms. ‘O’ says it well …
    “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” ~Oprah Winfrey
    So, yeah, return to that dirty motherfucker with bells on! I know you’ve got what it takes; the tenacity to pull it off! Shit, I’ve seen it! Anyways, brother from another, enjoy your time off. You deserve it!

    ~J

    1. Hmmm, good quote.

      I think Autumn deserves this time I’m taking off more than me. That little girl has been serious lacking Daddy-time.

      Later, J.!

      E.

      1. I LOVE that quote! And yes, Autumn definitely deserves her ‘Daddy-time’. I do think Daddy will enjoy every minute spent with his little ‘tum-tum’ as well πŸ˜‰ You have a wonderful break, E!
        Later!

        ~J

  2. I’m not going to go on one of my rambles. Suffice it to say, i agree with what you’re saying and enjoy fun time with your little girl and family. Hurry back, I may have a huge ramble on the next Ruminating On! πŸ™‚

    1. Awww, but I look forward to the stories you tell in my comment section. Seriously. That’s what it’s here for πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by again, Audrey!

      E.

  3. You know what? I think that 23.5K of “pure, absolute nonsense” would have gotten written whether you did it all in a kamikaze writing session or over the course of weeks. I think that the creative process is a little bit like an engine running on impure fuel: occasionally there’s a backfire, and some nasty gunk spews out. I know it’s frustrating because not only do you feel the time and words were wasted, and in this case, the effort led you to failure… yet, I think it is necessary. At least you got it over with in a short, painful burst. I tend to trickle out the gunk at about a one to one ratio as I write… hmmm, revision would go a lot faster if the rule was just to delete every other word…. No, I won’t really. Not *really*….

    Enjoy your time away!!

    -aniko

  4. Awesome post, E! Enjoy your down time with the fam. I’m going to miss your larger than life presence and unique brand of humor, but it is time very well spent. See ya in a few weeks…you know when you come back and knock this book into orbit! You can dooo it! There’s a reason why they say people are back and better than ever.

  5. Edward, I have come back to your site and read this several times though why I haven’t already left a comment, I have no idea! First, let me say that all of your posts are excellent and thought provoking.

    Secondly, (tsk, tsk,; one should never let the outline of their essay show through!), I want to say how much I admire that you were able to make sense of a difficult beginning and move forward to be such a loving presence in your own family. Well done you. It can be very hard, but if we are able to see the dysfunction from our childhood, we can put a stop to it following us for the rest of our lives (and from seeping into the lives of the next generation).

    Lucky daughter to have some dedicated, quality time with good ol’ Dad. Why do I think at this VERY moment, you have a smile on your face too?!

    Have fun!
    Jo

  6. Excellent and inspirational post, Edward, but if I were you I would follow by example and not be so damned hard on yourself. Failure is essential in all things if only to add more luster to eventual success. Regardless of your verdict on what you produced word-wise, look at the volume you produced. There are writers out there who would kill to achieve that kind of output.

    Onward and upward sir. Success awaits.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kealan.

      Funny thing, you dropping a comment today. I just finished The Turtle Boy and The Grief Frequency last night and have moved on to KIN. I am 22% in and admiring your way with words.

      You’re good, you. I hate I didn’t find you sooner.

      E.

  7. Thanks Edward! And thanks for the kind words about my work. I really appreciate it. And hey, better late than never, right? As long as you’re digging it, it’s all good!

  8. Just read the first page. Hooked. Purchased and downloaded to my Kindle. I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories. Beautiful cover too!

    1. Thanks, Kealan. Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics does great work. I’ll tell him you like the cover. I’m a fan of your cover art as well. I hate to admit this, but your cover for KIN was the main reason I bought that book.

      By the way, since my last correspondence with you, I’m 35% into KIN. Can’t put this book down. Damn good job.

      E.

  9. If I haven’t mentioned this recently, you inspire me. Thanks for sharing sir, and I wish you happy play time with your family. Enjoy it.

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