Irvine Welsh

Mistakes, Failure and Writing Faith

I was in London last week (talking to one of my publishers about a new book for 2014 - more about that soon) and I picked up a copy of Psychologies Magazine at the airport. I don't often get the time to read magazines so it was a real treat. After my meeting I lay down on my hotel bed and flicked through the articles. There was a great conversation between Joanne Froggatt (Anna in Downton Abbey) and Irvine Welsh. Joanne is starring in his new film, Filth.

During the interview they discussed failure and making mistakes. 'We've all got to be prepared to make mistakes,' Joanne said. 'My dad has a very Northern saying - "Them that never do 'owt, never do 'owt wrong".'

Irvine agreed with her. 'Life is all about making mistakes,' he said. 'What's the phrase? Try again. Fail again. Fail bigger (sic). Fail better. One of the most horrible things in life would be not to be able to fail again.'

ever tried
ever tried

The phrase he quoted is one of my favourites in fact - it's by Samuel Beckett and it's a great mantra for writers.

So often we decide not to try something for fear of failure.

I won't write that blog because it won't be as good as/as funny as so and so's blog.

I find writing short stories really hard so I won't even try.

Poetry? That's for intellects.

I can't write that time travel book because I'm not sure how to plot it. I'm scared it will be rubbish.

These are my own personal writing fears and there are plenty more where they came from.

What are YOU afraid of?

Not being a good enough writer?

Not being as good as (fill in any name you like here)?

Being laughed at?

Being rejected?

Getting published? Because then you'll have a whole new set of problems and worries.

We all have our own set of writing fears.

Next month I will start writing that children's time travel novel. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I'm willing to give it a go. It may work, it may not, but at least I'll have tried.

What will you be doing? Worrying about failure? Or taking a giant leap of writing faith?

Yours in writing,

Sarah XXX