Challenge failed, and that’s alright

July 31, 2013

I named this challenge aptly. It’s the end of the month, and I didn’t reach the 58,000 word mark that I was looking for. There’s still novel yet to edit. I have failed.

That’s the easy answer. Here’s the correct one. During my last challenge, I gave myself 18 days to edit 27,000 words. I managed that, barely. This time I gave myself 23 days to edit 58,000 – over double the content in only 5 more days to do it in – and I ended up making it through 43,000.

Why doesn’t that feel like a failure to me?

Then there’s the content I was working on this time. I can’t go into detail yet, but it included some of the most complex and important scenes in the book, including the climax. I also had no “easy wins”, no delete-4,000-words-of-unnecessary-scenes-in-a-second, which actually happened during the first challenge. Good thing too. They needed to go.

I came so close, too! If I had only done certain things right the first time, I may have made it. I was on target to, before that. If only I didn’t have to turn back.

So why doesn’t this feel like a failure?

Because I never fell prey to false proxies, and always remembered what the most important thing was (to tell a great story). Because the rewrites will make the story stronger. Because I kept going every single day, despite all the other things on my plate. Because I got more editing done in a short time than I ever have before. Because I’m proud of the work I did.

I may have failed, but this failure has brought me closer to my true goal than many of the successes I’ve had. So it’s alright.

Try, and fail, until you succeed. Set ambitious goals for yourself. Make progress every single day. Keep going. Even if you stumble, you’ll come out much farther ahead than you would have otherwise. I know I have.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the next few days on a trip to see my best friend (and editor). Alas, I won’t be able to hand him the finished draft like I wanted to, but I know he’ll wait. He’s been listening to me talk about this story for years. Another few weeks is nothing.

I have 15,000 more words to go (plus a scene I haven’t written yet…that was a wrinkle in my original plan that I failed to consider), so I should be able to finish up shortly after I get back next week. Don’t expect to hear from me until then. It’s time for me to relax and play, and then come back and finish this baby off.

This phase, that is. There’s still a lot to be done before I can let you all see this story of mine. Soon, though. That time is getting closer every day.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.


  1. Reply


    Im glad you dont look at it as a failure, its not!
    It doesnt matter if it takes a bit longer to complete if it ends up being much better.
    Im not a writer but i think editing is not only about deleting what’s bad, but also finding ways of reworking things to improve it overall.

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