Opinions & Editorials

We can learn things from accepting failure

Luke Feliciano is a senior sports management and digital media double major. He is the Sports News Editor for the Newswire from Rutherford, NJ.

I had an idea. It was bold and brash. Ludicrous even.

I wanted to write a book. I planned to finish it within the year, find an agency to get it published and then, if that succeeded, pursue an electric career as a fiction author.

I morphed into a keyboard warrior (the good kind), channeling my inner night owl in a vortex of my own imaginative bliss. I was inventing key plot lines, haphazardly forming dialogue on the fly and crafting a story that would turn me into the next Mike Lupica.

Now, my 10-chapter, 150-page masterpiece is dwelling in a dungeon of futility.

The file is piled under a heaping layer of folders in the upper right corner of my laptop, a device I use daily and carry around with me nearly everywhere I go.

It’s been years since I’ve edited it or even added to it. Maybe I can’t overcome my own writer’s block or simply don’t have the time to continue it, but at this point, the words my teenage self once produced appear to be locked away for the rest of eternity.

The book is titled Triumph & Disaster, and ironically, it has come to represent both sides of the coin.

In retrospect, I’ve reached the conclusion that writing the book has taught me that sometimes, it’s OK not to finish what you started.

That sounds ridiculous, like I’m subscribing to a ne’er-do-well mentality. But in this particular case, it’s more about what I gained more from the experience than what I’ve neglected to continue.

There were triumphs. I was reinforced with the value of dedication. If I wanted the book to be published, I would have to spend a considerable amount of time writing — and rewriting — scenes and chapters.

I also feel like writing the novel helped me improve my writing skills, and it was a major factor in why I chose to pursue journalism: so I could continue to be a purveyor of words.

While my late-night tendency wasn’t necessarily a healthy practice, some of my best writing surfaced when I was able to decompress and relax after a long day. Today, that still rings true.

At the same time, there were disastrous effects. I walked away unfulfilled after failing to accomplish my objective.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think I wasted my time working on something that had a minuscule chance of being successful in the first place.

It was a double-edged sword. The book had the ability to curb my creative appetite, but it could also cut deep and show me how difficult it really is to make it as a writer.

As pessimistic and self-deprecating as that sounds, I still believe the decision to let go of the novel outweighs salvaging the shell of what it once was.

I am by no means condoning the act of quitting.

I just believe that there is meaning behind undertaking a task even if we never end up finishing the job. That’s because there’s always something new out there we can learn about ourselves in the process.

I made an effort to follow what I once thought was a dream of mine. In some ways, it still is — I’d like to continue writing fiction as a side gig.

While I haven’t touched my flagship fiction novel in what seems like forever, I recently started drafting a sci-fi action novel that perhaps might be a more appealing option for a publisher.

And even if fiction writing never takes me to the top like Mötley Crüe, at least I can rest assured that I discovered something that has brought me joy.

Taking that leap of faith, jumping into a whole other realm of possibilities and perhaps making a self-discovery are all reasons to decide to do something bold in the first place — I can promise you that much.

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