Fear of Failure

Lupine near the tidal flats

I wrote for years without showing my work to anyone because I was afraid of the reaction I would get. I wasn’t prepared to hear that my work needed work. And I really wasn’t prepared to hear that my work was good, that I should publish it.

When I did start sharing my work, I wrote under a pen name. I was insulated. The people close to me never saw my work because I never promoted any of it under my real name.

My work was good – and if you know me, you know I rarely say I’m good at anything. My little blog started to gain an audience, and I seemed to be inspiring people. Then I let it go.

Sun through the trees at the Dyea townsite

I stopped writing for a time because a significant relationship fell apart, then I moved to Alaska and discovered what slow internet really feels like. When I started to get settled after the move, I started writing again, but I wasn’t sharing my work.

Three months later, I moved again. I didn’t write for a long time, but that was when I discovered how much I love photography. I didn’t write, but I did start to learn about my camera and what makes a photo compelling.

Eighteen months after that, I moved yet again. In the months leading up to this move, my friend and roommate passed away and I was let go from my job. I had to start thinking about what I want. I don’t want to be working shit jobs for not enough money for the rest of my life. I want to be creative. I want to share my photos and the words I write.

This meant it was time to start submitting my work for publication. As we all know, that means the possibility of rejection. This made me nervous until I realized something. Why should rejection scare me? I moved 4000 miles away from home to a place I had never been in a state where I knew only one person (and I had only known that person for a couple months).

If I can start my life over with just what would fit in my Toyota Corolla, I can handle showing my work to some random editors. If they like it, great. If not, so what? I’ll create something else.

Failure isn’t important enough to be afraid of.

Alpine milk-vetch close to the high tide line

Prints of these photos are available in my gallery on Fine Art America!


  1. Well done… I too have been in a similar situation… been writing for my Just Rolling By for a few years now and was published last year in a book of adventure shorts. Since then, I have been brave enough to submit more material; yet more rejections came. Keep at it!

Is there something you want to add?