Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FIND YOUR MAGIC: TRANSFORMING FAILURE INTO SUCCESS

“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, 
you can make anything happen.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


The day has finally arrived. My novel is on bookshelves everywhere. People ask me if I'm excited. I answer with a tentative yes. Of course I'm excited. I've waited my whole life for this. What I don't tell them is that this journey to publication has been such a long, challenging road that the initial excitement wore off a long time ago. How I feel now is more akin to relief and satisfaction. Whew! I made it. I've survived.

When I was an adolescent, I believed I wasn't good at anything. I struggled with my grades. I was shy and had trouble making friends. But I also had dreams. Big ones. Even then, I longed to see my name on the cover of a book. I would buy pretty pens and spend hours scrawling my name over and over to get my 'L' just right. In bookstores, I'd run my fingers across the shelves and wonder where my book would go someday. I even wrote in my journal that I wanted to publish my first novel before I was thirty years old.

But life often takes us on journeys that are unforeseen and unplanned. There is failure along the way, pitfalls and stumbling blocks, deep gorges and towering mountain peaks. I missed my goal by thirteen years because I spent way too long convinced I could never actually write a novel. And then when I finally did write one, things didn't turn out quite the way I had hoped.

It is easy to look at others and compare their greatest successes to our worst failures. Of course, that's an unfair comparison to make. Take Michael Jordan for instance. The NBA calls him "the greatest basketball player of all time." During his career he averaged 30 points per game, scored 32,000 points overall, played in 13 All Star games, won 2 Olympic gold medals, and set many world records. But did you know that he was also the biggest failure in basketball history? And he's the first one to say so. He missed over 9,000 shots, lost more than 300 games, and missed 26 game winning shots. He says "I have failed over and over in my life - and that's why I succeed." (You can watch his TV spot about this below.)




A few of my rejection letters.
There are some whose road to success is quick and painless, but for most of us, success requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. After two years of submissions and forty-five rejections, I seriously considered giving up on my dream of being an author. I saw my failures as a sign that I was a bad writer. But then I met Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller 13 Reasons Why. He had just published that book and had no idea how drastically his life was about to change. But what inspired me was that it took him about ten years to find a publisher. He never gave up.

I went home with renewed determination, and a few months later I sold my manuscript.

"I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. 
But I can't accept not trying." 
- Michael Jordan

In my book, The Rock of Ivanore, Marcus believes he can't do magic. Every time he casts a spell, it backfires. He thinks he's a failure. It's only through the challenges he faces and overcomes that he develops the courage and ability to succeed in his quest. This is what I call FINDING YOUR MAGIC. Everyone has some goal they'd like to achieve or obstacle to overcome. Some want to write. Others want to play basketball. Some just want to pass their next math test, while others want to climb Mount Everest. The key to success is the same for everyone:  DON'T GIVE UP.


One of my favorite stories is about Thomas Edison and his quest to invent the light bulb. He succeeded after a thousand attempts. I often wonder what would have happened had he given up after number 999?
 
“I have not failed 1,000 times. 
I have not failed once. 
I have succeeded in proving 
that those 1,000 ways will not work.” 
- Thomas Edison

 What is success? For most of us, it is the destination we reach after a traveling a long, hard road. Sometimes success is a single event or accomplishment. Other times it is an ongoing process. No matter what our individual definitions of success may be, it is always accompanied by a sense of satisfaction, of knowing we earned the right to be there.

So next time you are faced with a challenge, or you meet with failure, remember to just keep going and find your magic. 

- Written by Laurisa White Reyes


15 comments:

  1. Loved your post Laurisa. Because I'm like you. It's been 9 years and I may finish my first book this year and start querying. You're an inspiration. Can't wait to start your book. And congrats on your debut!

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    1. Hi Natalie! Like I used to tell my students - just get to the end. Finish it. That's the biggest hurdle right there.

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  2. Love and adore this post. Thanks so much for sharing your story, and congratulations!

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  3. Wonderful post, Laurisa! I'm so glad you found your magic - and stuck with your writing. Happy book birthday!

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    1. Thank you so much Nikki! I'm glad I found my magic, too.

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  4. Thanks for the encouragement, so very true! Those who made it, did so certainly because they did not give up when they had all the reasons to. So, keep looking for your magic and you might just find it one day. In the meantime, it's much better to say I'm still looking or I'm in the process of finding my magic that to admit you've given up.

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    1. Just keep on going. Or keep on swimming as the case may be. :)

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  5. Congrats on your big day! This post is written with such truth. Thank you for sharing this. It's exactly the kind of thing I need to read these days.

    Best of luck!

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    1. I'm glad you found something in the post that could be helpful.

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  7. You are such an inspiration! I have been struggling to find my inner talents for quite sometime, and thanks to Scott Edmund Miller's latest book, "The User's Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self" I know have a better of what my purpose is. Thanks for reminding me to never give up, to keep moving forward- you are a wonderful example of perseverance.
    http://usersguidetobeinghuman.com/

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    1. I'd never heard of this book before. Thank you for telling me about it. Sounds like something I could use.

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  8. Thanks for sharing--how inspiring...!

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