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Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in The Writing Life | 16 comments

On Failure and Batman – a guest post by Katherine Rebekah

On Failure and Batman – a guest post by Katherine Rebekah

 

As an uber nerd, there’s no real life event that I can’t relate to fiction in some way. While I want to give you tips on dealing with and learning from failure, I didn’t want to go it alone. So I’ve included advice from the most reliable (fictional) source I could find: Batman. (Bonus points if you read this entire post in a raspy Batman voice.)

In “Batman Begins,” a young Bruce falls down a well, and his father, Thomas, comes to his rescue. While carrying Bruce back into the house, Thomas utters one of my favorite lines in the movie:

“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

I love this not only because it’s influential throughout the film, but also because it reveals a truth about failure that we don’t often hear.

We’re told that every successful person fails, that greatness is the byproduct of failure. It’s true. However, success doesn’t result from a failure but from how we react to that failure and what we learn from it. This is especially true for writers because failure is something we face regularly.

With that in mind, here are tips for, as Thomas said, learning to pick yourself up.

Allow yourself that pity party, but keep it short.

 

Warning. Despite what you may have been told, masking emotions doesn’t make you strong. It does turn you into a melodramatic ball of angst and depression, which is one way in which we don’t want to mimic Batman.

 

So vent your frustrations to your cat, scream into your pillow, do some serious sobbing, stuff your face with chocolate. Just don’t do that for long. Let your emotions out, and let them go.

 

Be positive about yourself and other people.

 

The best way I’ve found to counter negative emotions, which seem to play on “repeat” after a failure, is to say positive things out loud.

 

For example: “The only reason my friends were harsh is because they want me to become better. I have wonderful, honest friends. I’m proud of myself for sharing my work. My writing will be better because of this.”

 

Cheesy? Maybe. But it lifts me out of a slump. If you say something out out loud long enough, you’ll start to believe it, and positive emotions will follow.

 

Evaluate why you failed.

 

Although it may feel like reopening a freshly healed wound, this step is vital to any sort of personal development. Review your work, be objective about your weaknesses, and take criticism seriously.

Practice.

 

Understanding what went wrong is not enough. You must practice by stepping back and making it right. Apply what you’ve learned from evaluating your work.

Repeat the process.

 

You’re going to mess up again. You may even humiliate yourself (I know I have), but the beauty is that you improve each time. Follow these steps, and you’ll be cleaning up the streets of Gotham. . . er, writing like a pro in no time.

 

All of this is fine advice, but I’ve saved my best for last.

 

If you learn nothing else from me today, memorize that quote from “Batman Begins.” The next time you fail, recite it to yourself, pretend you are Batman, stare melodramatically into the night, and imagine epic Hans Zimmer music playing in the background.

 

That always works for me.

 

KatherineKatherine is a homeschooled high schooler who has developed an addiction to coffee and stories. She spends most of her time reading, writing or rambling on her blog, Katherine Rebekah. She may also be living under the delusion that she is, in fact, Batman, but this can neither be confirmed nor denied. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest

 

 

photo credit: P1010036 via photopin (license)

16 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh. This is a brilliant post, Katie! Not only is your advice spot on and extremely helpful, but you found a way to put Batman in there. I’m happy. Thanks for sharing your awesomeness!

  2. I love that quote about falling.

    (Almost as much as I love the quote at the end of Dark Knight. “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.”)

    Nicely done!

  3. Nice post, Katherine! 😀 Good system you’ve got here.

    I love your last bit-
    The next time you fail, recite it to yourself, pretend you are Batman, stare melodramatically into the night, and imagine epic Hans Zimmer music playing in the background.
    Man, that’s totally me.

  4. Excellent post, Katie!! A lesson that can apply to any life situation… Not just writing! 🙂 <3

  5. I loved all your points. Batman is the one superhero I wholeheartedly despise, but the lessons you shared with us from the character were quite insightful. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Great post, Katherine, thanks for sharing with us!

  7. This really is a wonderful post!! I hope to refer to it often. And of course the quote. 😉

    • Thank you, Hannah. I’m glad you liked it so much!

      Yes, quotes are awesome little things. I like to hoard them so I can pull them back out for instances such as this. Never underestimate the power of a good quote. 🙂

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