Happy new year!
If my post title made you raise your eyebrows a little, allow me to explain.
In the world of writing, it can be easy to fall into a rut - to keep on doing the same things you did last year, especially if you have enjoyed some success with them.
In this fast-changing world, however, that policy is fraught with risk.
So in 2013 I want to recommend that you try some new challenges. If you see yourself as a nonfiction writer, for example, make this the year you write a novel. If you're a fiction writer, conversely, why not try writing a nonfiction book?
If you've never tried blogging or social media, why not give them a go? Or try your hand at e-book writing or travel writing or creating your first screenplay? Or how about writing a children's book - one area of publishing which is growing rapidly while others are shrinking.
There are lots of benefits to exploring new outlets for your writing. It can help renew your enthusiasm if it was ebbing slightly. You may discover new talents and interests you never suspected before. And you may find new sources of income - more important than ever as the world heads toward an increasingly probable economic meltdown.
Of course, if you try new things, there's a high probability that some won't work out. That's to be expected, though. As the great inventor Thomas Edison put it, "Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t."
He also said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
In his book The Luck Factor, Professor Richard Wiseman set out a metaphor I love and have quoted before. He said that life is a bit like an orchard. If you keep on going to the same area of the orchard, even though you may find plenty of ripe fruit there to start with, once you have been a few times the pickings will become thin. To enjoy continuing success, it's important to visit other parts of the orchard - to go beyond your comfort zone and try new things, in other words.
So that's why in 2013 I believe you should prepare to fail - because it's only by pushing yourself and sometimes failing that you can go on to achieve everything you are truly capable of as a writer.
I'm definitely going to be visiting new areas of the orchard myself this year, and no doubt falling flat on my face a few times along the way. Feel free to join me!
Good luck, and have a wonderful, creative and prosperous 2013.
P.S. Far be it from me to imply that they will help you fail, but my publishers and blog sponsors, WCCL/The Self Development Network, produce a range of excellent guides to most areas of writing, including writing for children, movie screenwriting, travel writing, and many more. You can see most of the range on their Write Street website. If you're new to any of these fields, they will give you a route map to follow to maximize your chances of success.
Photo Credit: FAIL by amboo213 on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence.