The title of this blog post is a lyric from a song in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one of my favourite movies ever.
The song is all about how mistakes, and failures and things-going-wrong are the building blocks for success. The sentiment in it speak SO much to me, and I play it on full blast whenever I feel I need a little creative boost.
I saw Chitty on stage earlier this year, and was also lucky enough to meet the fab Carrie Hope Fletcher, who played Truly Scrumptious.
Sometimes, I get a little clogged up with writing. I generally have a couple of projects (at various stages) on the go at one time, so I don’t get writer’s block that often, but I always find that every six months or so, something inside of me just goes ‘NO MORE WRITING.’
Now, Past Laura would see this this block as a complete failure. I would stress about the lack of words, spend hours staring at a black word document, and generally work myself into a bit of a stress. Horrible thoughts would run through my head:
“Why are you even trying?”
“You’re horrible at writing?”
“Just give up.”
But here’s the thing with writing, as with a lot of things. For the past two years I have written and read and thought about stories and publishing and my craft A LOT. I’ve worked at it. I’ve learned what works, and what doesn’t. I’ve revised and revised again and again. And although I don’t consider myself an expert (far from it), I know things that Past Laura didn’t.
I know that not writing isn’t a failure. Even if I don’t write for a week, or a month, or a year. So when that cloggy feeling came back a few weeks ago, I didn’t panic. Instead, I went on holiday.
I swam, and went on sunset walks, and laughed and I read A LOT. I took a stack of books, and I DEVOURED them.
And when I came back, I sat down at my laptop and the block was gone. And not only that, but I felt SO inspired, SO refreshed and SO ready to write. I’d worked out plot holes, and figured out characters motivations and had loads of new ideas buzzing round my head, waiting to be written down.
So here’s the point of this post: two years ago a month long break from writing would have been a DISASTER and I would’ve felt like a complete failure. But now, it’s a success. So wherever you are in your writing journey–maybe your first draft is a complete mess, or your query isn’t getting any agent bites or your revisions are draining you–however bad it seems, whatever disaster you’re navigating–a year or two from now that failure could be the turning point for success.
ALSO: speaking of the fab Carrie Fletcher, I am SO SO excited to read On the Other Side. I’m going to a signing in a few weeks and I. CAN’T. WAIT!!