Feeling like a failure.

Ok, so it’s still Saturday here, but it’s Sunday morning (very early Sunday morning) in Australia, which is where my damn laptop still thinks it is. And Sunday is ROW80 check in day. But you know what? I have not achieved a single goal. Not one. I’ve thought about writing. I spent the entire 3 hour train trip today with my laptop open in Scrivener wasting time. I bought a sketchbook and pencils to start attempting to draw sketches of the various clans in my mind for my novel. But I have done nothing. And even though last week you all told me not to worry about goals whilst I’m away, I still feel like a failure. A big stupid unsuccessful failure who will probably never achieve anything. Yeah…you can probably tell by this blog post that I’m thinking of getting two desserts with room service tonight…

The thing is, I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life. In grade 6, literally within a day, my writing changed completely from childish to more mature (I’m not even talking myself up, I got a LOT of compliments about the level of my writing from teachers/uni students testing out being teachers). I sat down one night in 2007, and six months later had a novel. I’ve always been very imaginative, and spent a lot of time playing alone or with my little brothers in imaginary worlds or as part of my favourite childhood stories (Famous Five). My mind always wanders beyond what is there to a different world, a world of the past or a world I’ve created all on my own. It’s why I love history, and why I love fantasy, and why I love fantasy that has a real feel of history about it, that is, a world that has a backstory (GoT, LOTR, the Inkheart Trilogy). So, yeah. I want to be a writer. I want to be allowed to explore my imagination and even share it with people who might care. But sometimes, when I look at other people’s success, a little part of me (the part boyf and I usually refer to as the stupid irrational evil part) reminds me that I’m not successful. That I’m still editing that novel I wrote in 2007. That my blog isn’t super popular. That in reality I’m just a nobody, a nineteen year old from Australia who’s pretending to be a writer. And this all makes me very sad. It makes me feel like my dreams may never become reality. That perhaps I’ll live my entire life wishing I’d done something more. 

These past few months (if you’ve been following my blog you’d have noticed) I’ve been a bit miserable. I struggled with university, something I used to really enjoy. I struggled with trying to make my family accept the decisions I want to make. I struggled. There were weeks when I literally did nothing except watch YouTube videos and eat dinner and watch tv shows with boyf. I don’t feel that miserable now, but I still feel a bit ergh. 

Well, that was a bit of a downer. And probably not particularly coherent. But that’s how I feel. 

Tomorrow I head from London to Cambridge to start my two week history summer school. Am I excited? I suppose. Do I wish I could just keep traveling, or even better, see boyf again instead of having to wait two more weeks? Yes. Has this adventure been life changing? Probably. It’s taught me a lot about myself (I can deal with being lost in the middle of London, but I can’t deal with missing my train). It’s clarified some things in my mind (I want to come on exchange to Edinburgh. I ideally want to live in the UK one day. I want to explore this amazing place more with my boyf, I really do love him more than I can explain). It’s an experience I wouldn’t change for anything, as I’m sure this next two weeks will be. Perhaps it’s just because I’m feeling like a failure that all this seems a bit meh. 

Mmm, on that miserable note…see you on Wednesday for WIPpet Wednesday. Feel free to leave a comment if you want, and I’ll try and visit as many of you as I can. Sorry this has been a rambling mess of self pity. Sometimes these things just happen.

I’m supposed to do goals for next week now right? Ergh. 

1.  Sort out the damn Taura chapter that has been causing me issues.

2. Focus on enjoying Cambridge Summer School

3. Start work on Cambridge essay

4. Visit lots of other ROW80 and WIPpet Wednesday blogs. 

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12 thoughts on “Feeling like a failure.

  1. Hello, Rachel. I’m glad you checked in today. Now, order your two desserts, call up the boyf, get a nice earful of sweet nothings, and stop feeling like a failure. You’re, what, nineteen, you said? NOBODY is a failure at nineteen. NOBODY. You’re only just beginning to fly, girl! Look at me: I’m 49 and never finished anything in my life. Even I am not a failure, though, because I have begun trying again. As long as you’re trying, and I mean really putting in an effort, then you are NOT a failure. I don’t care if you never quite got around yet to finishing editing your novel you wrote in 2007 (if you’re 19 in 2014, then you were, what, 12 when you wrote it? It’s gonna need a LOT of editing; give yourself some slack, there). You have got time. I’m not saying “put it off, there’s always tomorrow”; I’m just saying “work it, girl, but don’t worry – you’re only just starting out”. So there.
    Oooh, and Scotland! GORGEOUS! I wanna go there sometime. 🙂 Take lots of pictures for your blog!

      1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could help. 🙂 I’d love to know what desserts you ordered, by the way. ;-> I find cheesecake to be deliciously cathartic.

  2. Be kind to yourself – if you write, you’re a writer, not pretending to be one. And if you’re not writing, that’s OK too – you have a lot going on, and it’s hard to write while traveling! Don’t forget, you’re gaining some wonderful life experience that will fill your writing well, whether now or in the future. It’s tough not to beat up on ourselves when we don’t make our goals. Instead, remember it’s a new week, and a new chance. Your goals are reasonable, you can do it. Good luck, and have fun!

  3. What Tammy said. Remember, this is the challenge that knows you have a life. So you’re having a letdown after some pretty high times. Everyone does. So you don’t have much to report on. We all have times like that. Don’t worry about it. Take care of yourself and you’ll have a morning where you wake up rarin’ to go. And enjoy your time at Cambridge.

  4. Sometimes, we just need to give ourselves permission to fail at a specific task. You didn’t meet your goals this week, but that’s ok! You’re definitely not a failure at life. I remember the summer my fiance at the time (now husband) and I were apart for about 3 months while he did the job search thing and I traveled for summer work. That alone is a recipe for making life harder. I hope you’re able to get time for self-care.

  5. Kudos for your openness and authenticity! These are two of the traits I most admire.
    Enjoy your adventure at Cambridge. And let us know if you get to do an exchange in Edinburgh. (My eldest son lives not far from Glasgow. He moved there at the end of January.)
    Take a deep breath, refocus, and enjoy your new adventure.

  6. Rachel,

    I remember being nineteen. That was the year I thought I finished my first draft of my first novel. I was deeply in love with someone pretty wonderful, and filled with a restless impatience for which I had no name. I never felt truly worthy, or as if I was doing enough, and “being present in the moment” was something I wouldn’t even hear for most of another decade.

    I was sure I was only pretending to be a writer. It had to be, as my father said, a pipe dream.

    Flash forward to now. In one week, I will be forty-five years old. Most of the time, honestly, I don’t feel much like a grownup, even with the irrefutable evidence of a not-quite teenaged son who is about to be taller than I am, an abundance of pretty silverings in my hair, and the calendar…

    Earlier this month, I completed the rough draft of that novel.

    That might sound discouraging – but I’m not. You see, I don’t have just that one completed draft. I have several. I have one draft in revision, one in progress, ideas for three more in my duotrope series. I’ve got the basis for an extended fan fiction series, and a series of novellas, and a book or more of poetry. I have nearly a thousand blog posts.

    I am a writer.

    Sure, it’ll still be a few years before I get to the point where I’m ready to publish. But that’s OK. I am laying a foundation, and, once the critical threshold has been crossed, I will have many things ready, in a fairly close span. And, in the meantime, all these works in progress are the proof that I am, indeed, a writer.

    Right now, you’re in the midst of a life-changing experience. Life-changing means that it will be writing-enhancing. Maybe not now, while you’re in the midst of it, but in time, as perspective does its thing.

    You are a writer. Know how I know? Because you write. Because, when you’re not actively writing, you think about writing. What you are doing now is feeding your writing. Later, when the experience is over, the words will come.

    You’re not wasting time or letting yourself down b being where you are, and allowing it to fill you. You’re giving yourself wonderful raw materials for future writings.

    My guess is that you’ve learned at least as much in your independent travels as you will in your class. May both fill you and delight you! =)

    And remember – you ARE a writer! =)

  7. Rachel sweetie, don’t let it bother you so much. I know it’s easy to say and hard to do but it’s true. Personally I suffer from almost crippling self doubt sometimes, not just in writing but in life. I’m 24 and I still live with my parents. My self doubt comes in the form of depression that feels like a little man whispering how useless I am in my ear all the time. I’ve just started to ignore it, focus on the good and sometimes, if I’m feeling really annoyed at those thoughts, I turn around and punch them in the face by remembering the things that I have got; a job I love even if it doesn’t pay fantastically, supportive parents who are always there for me and sometimes drag me away from myself when I spend too much time alone, and friends who might not know what I’m going through but will listen to me rant and rave or just make me laugh.
    You are a writer! You’ve finished a novel, you’re writing more! You’re an incredibly brave person, coming all the way to the other side of the world, possibly on your own (I’m not sure) and exploring and studying and doing most of the things I wish I’d done when I was 19, heck that I wish I could do now, you have a boyf who clearly loves you as much as you love him. You might feel like a failure but you’re not. You are writing or thinking about writing, you are making the steps to succeed and you are trying. Not trying at all is what makes failures and that is not you. Most importantly you know what you want to do with your life. How many nineteen year olds can say that for certain? I know I didn’t have a clue when I was 19, just a vague idea. You’ve got most people beat there.
    So don’t beat yourself up about not reaching your goals, we all have off days and the need to take some time off from thinking about writing. All that matters is that you’re happy and go back to writing when you feel better. These thoughts will come, they probably will always appear when you least want them to but the important thing is to let them pass, don’t dwell too much and don’t get stuck in your own head.
    I hope that you feel better soon, much love, Nicole

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