Why I hate success stories

I harbor a distaste for success stories, especially from writers I never heard of. Ah bitterness, how sweet thy sting. A success story is a sub genre of those feel good, warm and fuzzy, based on, or inspired by a true story, about people who overcame the odds and rose above their misfortune. In the old days they would be on the ABC, made for TV, movie of the week. But there is a larger issue with success stories and why stories about failure are more informative.

I have read many stories about indie writers and so-called real writers and they all have good advice, make salient points, and have, by reading through their success stories, a formula you can follow. And truth in honesty, what they say makes sense. The problem is that every person, every writer is different. Some are aggressive in marketing, others are passive, some see a clear path, others flounder along various trails, taking the wrong fork in the road. In the end some are lucky, others are not lucky.

No doubt you have heard ‘you can make your own luck.’  Or that luck is when ‘preparation meets opportunity.’  And lest we forget, ‘luck is the residue of design.’ To this I say luck can not be mixed in a bowl, baked at 350 degrees, and served on a golden plate. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for banana bread. I followed the recipe to perfection three times- and the banana bread was a disaster all three times. And while I find that preparation is important, not when opportunity comes knocking at your door for that implies you are patiently waiting for opportunity- but when you knock on opportunities door, it does not mean opportunity is home. Mr. Opportunity may be taking a lunch with Mr. Luck. And you can design your formal for success, but the residue can be ashes.

What is more important are stories of failure because they teach us what not to do. Jerry Lewis said you can learn more from bad movies than good ones because watching bad movies shows what is wrong, you see it, we have all experienced bad movies and we know why they were bad. Good movies we get involved and pay little attention to why, we don’t care, we are involved.

The good news is that there is only one failure story. You can find it in every story of failure you hear about. The recurring theme that comes under different headings is one and the same: giving up, quitting, surrendering, desisting, abandoning, throwing in the towel-or the keyboard.

The true success story is continuing to work at writing. You don’t need inspiration, that doesn’t last, it tastes good for a short time, but, like my banana bread, it does not sustain. Come to think of it, it never tasted good either. What you need is not inspiration, but will. The will to sit down and simply write.

My e-novels and short stories that will not inspire, but amuse are at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Nelson/e/B00EEVHN38



1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, Uncategorized, writing

One response to “Why I hate success stories

  1. I read success as incentives. I think, ‘I’m capable doing what he or he capable doing on paper. I can write as good as that writer, with a lot of prayer and practice [emphasis on prayer!!].’


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