I’ve failed. There, it’s out there. Sometimes you set out to do something huge, and you fear the failure that might come. But now that I’ve said it, there’s no more reason to be afraid.
I set out to read a book a week, and last week, I started Stephen King’s On Writing. However, unlike other weeks, at 11:59 on Sunday night, my book remained unfinished. I could run through my whole list of reasons as to why I didn’t read the requisite number of pages necessary to finish this memoir: I got sick, work was crazy, I’ve been tired, ad nauseam. But they’re all excuses. I look back on my week and see the holes that I could have filled with a few pages here, thirty minutes of reading there.
And yet the book remains on my coffee table, pen and highlighter tucked between the pages and my reading glasses tossed across the table.
There’s a quote from one of my favorite television shows that resonates with me today: Mythbusters. In the realm of science, Adam Savage reminds us often, failure is always an option. The quote comes to remind the viewers at home that even when all of the science seems to make sense, and all of the calculations are done, sometimes the resulting product is not what we expect, or the experiment fails dramatically. So they tell us, time and time again: failure is always an option.
The important thing, though, is that where there is failure, there is revising and retrying until failure is the only option, or until success. Today, I am opting for revision until success.
This week, I will continue reading On Writing, and at the end of the week, I will have either completed the task at hand, or I will have failed again. But I’m optimistic: I want to finish this book. I want to read 52 books in 2018. That’s what I’ve set out to do, and I plan to do just that. Ideally, I’ll make up a book by reading two in a particularly voracious reading week, but that will be a challenge for the future me to tackle.
Today, I sit down with Stephen King, and I read.