Arpith Siromoney 💬

Avoiding Failure

Steve Silberman has assorted practical tips from many writers about their work:

A few things became clear as soon as their replies came in. First of all, I’ll have to throttle back my use of Twitter and Facebook to get this writing done (and I may never rev up my idle Quora account after all.) Secondly, scheduling intervals of regular exercise and renewal amid the hours of writing will be essential. And thirdly, I’ll certainly be buying and downloading a software program called Scrivener, which is a powerful word processor specifically designed for writing books and keeping vast amounts of related data in good order.

Reading these tips has made the voice in my head that whispers I can do this a little louder when my eyelids snap open before dawn.

Lists can make avoiding failure appear temptingly simple, but as Matt Webb says, there’s more going on:

Ignorance is a marker of somewhere interesting to dig. “Thinking through making” is really a dialogue between the designer and the material, one which reveals the unknown unknowns. Once you’ve become aware of your ignorance, you can do something with it, trade it in for interesting things. Also naivety gives you strength.

Ineptitude is a worry. You have to pay due diligence to your own ineptitude. But again, if you’re not getting shit wrong a good proportion of the time, you’re not learning hard enough.

Here’s another description of failure, from Ernest Hemingway in Across the River and Into the Trees.

So, the Colonel thought, here we come into the last round and I do not know even the number of the round. I have loved but three women and have lost them thrice.

You lose them the same way you lose a battalion; by errors of judgment; orders that are impossible to fulfill, and through impossible conditions. Also through brutality.

So I look out for these, these are what I look out for.