Fear of Failure

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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.

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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.

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Alpine milk-vetch close to the high tide line

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

2 Comments

  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!

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