How to Fail: A Manifesto

Image of lights out of focus so they look like hearts, a sweet reminder that it's okay to fail

How to Fail:
A Manifesto

Image of lights out of focus so they look like hearts, a sweet reminder that it's okay to fail

It’s hard loving all the things.

It makes you very, very bad at figuring out what you really want.

It means you stay in an unsatisfying situation longer than you should because . . . there’s potential.

It means you give away things like your time and energy too freely because you love people and you love helping, and somehow, everyone just seems to think you’re their Gal Friday.

It means that every once in a while, you accidentally invite a vampire in because he seems so nice!

But by far, the worst thing about being a multi-passionate everything enthusiast is mistaking a shiny object for your big dream.

It has recently come to my attention— resulting from end-of-year reflections and a compulsion to scrap my 2023 plans and start over three separate times— that I have been lovingly dedicating my life to my Plan B.

There are A LOT of reasons for this, and there are not enough hours to unpack them here.

But it does illustrate an astounding universal truth.

The best way to fail at your dream life— your Plan A — is to put all your time and energy into your Plan B.

One of my major accomplishments from 2022 was submitting my first book pitch into a contest . . . which, alas, I did not win. I’m not deterred, however, because I now have a completed pitch and a burning desire to keep showing up until they can’t ignore me anymore (“they” being any and all publishing houses and/or agents).

That’s my Plan A.

Writing my novel, then writing my next one. Pitching articles to publications, talking about storytelling on the interwebs, churning out articles and newsletters and hacks so you, too, can learn to use the craft of writing to connect with the people who need what you have to offer.

Writing every day. Not just talking about it.

This Dirty Head’s song will be my life.

​Here’s how it’s going so far.

But seriously, I’m writing at least 70% more and kicking myself with each passing day that up until now, this has NOT been my life!

As the resistance to doing the work fades, I’m starting to experience what I can only liken to a runner’s high (elusive to me because running = 🤮🤮🤮). But essentially an enjoyment that can only be reached with regular practice and that makes you never regret the writing session you did, only the one you didn’t do.


​So this is our little “Come to Jesus” moment, you and I.

I want to know: are you really, truly chasing after your Plan A?

Or are you settling for Plan B because it’s not so bad / it’s a steady paycheck / it’s what you think you should do?

Because if there’s one thing the last three years have taught me, it’s that the quickest way to fail at your dreams is not to admit to yourself what they are.

Resonate with these musings?

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