A lot of smart, creative people talk about failure in the creative process, so I thought I should finally tackle it myself. Obviously, I’ve never failed at anything before, so this advice is entirely hypothetical. I assume that failure feels pretty awful. I can imagine feeling not good enough, or worthless, maybe even feeling like I should just give up. I can picture myself throwing away my hard work, crumpling up paper or erasing files in a (minor) fit of rage. I’m not the yelling type, but I can almost see myself writing the world’s most passive-aggressive email. I mean, if I had failed at something. Which I never have.
“Failing” as a badge of honor doesn’t make sense to me. There’s no need to polish this turd? Failing feels sucky. But failure can also bring so much to learn about ourselves, our work and our presentation. Success is about so much more than just talent or the merit of our ideas. Timing is everything. Connecting with the right person matters. So you take failure in stride, strip as much good from the experience as you can, and do your best not to let the gut emotional reaction drag you down. –Adam J. Kurtz
Advice is a tricky thing to give, because even “the experts” (and I’m definitely not one) don’t know you personally. You are your own expert, and the advice you give to others is often exactly what you need to hear yourself. My new journal PICK ME UP: A Pep Talk For Now & Later is the guide you’ll write yourself to get through the dark parts.
Adam J. Kurtz (better known as ADAMJK) is an artist and author of 1 Page at a Time & Pick Me Up. His dark (but optimistic) humor comes to life in an offbeat line of gifts and small trinkets. Follow him at @ADAMJK or in real life (he lives in Brooklyn because of course he does).