Why Failing Makes You a Better Writer, by Tyrolin Puxty
You’re going to fail more than you succeed. It’s just a fact and I want you to take a deep breath, smile, and be super grateful for it.
Quick success is not a healthy recipe for anyone. It leads to arrogance, foolish mistakes, and eventual loss of ambition.
I would know. At 23, I signed my first publishing deal. It hit Buzzfeed lists, skyrocketed to #1 bestseller, and won several awards. I spoke at various Comic-Con panels, met fans dressed as their favorite character, and made the Top 25 of Ron Howard’s Imagine Impact program.
I was grateful, but after that, I became entitled. I was angry when I didn’t win. Frustrated by loss. Lazy, even. Eventually, my publisher became defunct, I stopped selling books and missed out on an opportunity to work with a Hollywood writer.
It was the first time I cried over not getting something I wanted. Rejection used to inspire determination, but instead, I declared to my bedroom ceiling that THIS time I was quitting. FOR REAL. I convinced myself that at the ripe old age of 28, I was simply too old to continue on and had been spat out by the industry far too many times.
Dude. How ridiculous is that? But it was a tantrum I needed to throw to see the bigger picture.
I wasn’t writing as much as I was expecting to become rich and famous. Living in your head is fine, so long as that imagination goes towards your books.
I had to stop making it about me and the success. Instead, it was about the readers and the love of.
A few months ago, I dropped my agents. They work at the biggest talent agency in the world, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit. During COVID-19, I researched several writer’s panels and conventions. I finished writing a screenplay and novel. I returned to my YouTube channel. I decided to query publishers and managers again, invigorated instead of defeated by the arduous process. It’s not because it’s a strategic plan to become the next Stephen King. I just want to be Tyrolin Puxty again, excited by my work regardless if it gets read or not.
You need a tough skin to be in this industry, but you can’t lose your heart. My skin was rougher than sandpaper (maybe I should invest in better creams) and my heart was silenced, questioning what it wanted out of this industry.
And the truth is, I just want to write. It makes me happy to meet the characters in my head and share the magic and laughter. In 2015 I said: “If it makes you happy, then you succeeded already.” I forgot my own mantra.
It’s so important to be rejected 100 times, so you can hone your craft. Believe me; your work is never perfect, so get as close to perfection as you can. Get out there and waste $100 on Amazon ads that don’t reach anyone, just so you can understand what not to do next time. Hurriedly rush a project and experience the consequences of not taking your time. Feel your stomach lurch when you read a 1-star review to prepare yourself for fifty more. Criticism helps you to discover what people want from your sequels.
If you succeed the first time, you’ll never grow as a creator. Rejection builds resilience and separates those who write for fame from those who write for passion.
Fail. Fail. Fail a hundred more times. It makes success more meaningful.
You can do it. But first...don’t do it. Enjoy the journey ahead; we all have so much to learn. And we all have a story to tell.
Meet the Writer
A Jack, or more accurately, a Tyrolin of all trades.
Tyrolin has been in the Top 10 of the Australian Songwriters Association and Australian Independent Music Awards. She was awarded an Australia Day Award for Music in 2014 and for Arts in 2015 and 2017. After leaving her job as a paralegal, Tyrolin started up a performing arts school where many of her students have graduated and proceeded to work in the industry.
In 2015, Tyrolin published Broken Dolls, which became an internationally #1 bestselling novel and appeared on Buzzfeed's Top 25 Best Books of 2015.
With a bizarre imagination, Tyrolin will always consider herself a writer, but she loves to act, dance, sing and eat chocolate