F is for Failure

F is for Failure

I considered a much stronger F word for this post but thought better of it as I am tired of people pontificating about the use of strong language. I don’t like being on the receiving end of a ticking off, especially when I disagree fundamentally with the stance the other person is taking; it’s a waste of energy getting that angry about something I cannot change.

For the record, despite these daily posts following (how original…) an alphabetical order, I am very much not doing any challenge, I am not linked up, affiliated, attached or otherwise part of anything that IS doing such a challenge. I’m not even sure that writing a daily blog post for 26 days can be considered a challenge and I don’t want a nice little sticker for my blog calling myself a “survivor” of such an enterprise. So apologies to anyone who thought I was unaware of such things and needed instructions on how to do it properly, induction into the rules and regulations of taking part and of the benefits of using certain tags and of the greater numbers of visitors I’d enjoy if I did. After a significant time floating around the blog-o-sphere, I have seen dozens of similar initiatives come and go; the so-called blog awards that were no more than a combo of popularity contest and chain letter seem to have died a death, thankfully.

I have always failed at being clubby. Like Groucho Marx, I’m suspicious of any club that would have me as a member. I don’t understand the need for many of the things that go around the world of blogging. When I first began blogging in 2009, there were (and probably still are) lots of communities of bloggers who obsessively followed each others’ blogs, collected comments like stamps, and for whom reciprocity was an iron-clad rule. The obligation that if someone has liked or subscribed to your blog, or commented, you must reciprocate in all particulars has always bothered me. If I like a blog, I like it. End of. I don’t expect the blogger to come and like mine, add it to their blog roll, subscribe to each post or anything else just because I did it for theirs. I did it because I wanted to. Not for anything else.

Some years ago I briefly belonged to a group on FB, which had the stated aim of authors helping each other. It was (I soon learned) rigid in its requirements, Pharisaical even. You were obliged to share blogs and tweets of books, regardless of whether you had read them, let alone liked them, if you wanted the same done for your work. There are not hours enough in the day to read even the samples of the numbers of books produced by the members of that group; some put out new books every few months. As for reviewing…well, don’t even go there. I started to feel that I was something that crawled out of the oceans and these shining gods were more than human; not only could they write a book every month or two, they could read dozens and review them, and tweet them and …well, they had feet of clay. Because they didn’t do all that, obviously. I left. I flounced, actually, with a somewhat self-righteous farewell note that I don’t regret. I felt (and feel) that to have got any benefit out of being a part of it I would have been selling my soul in small slices, with a side order of integrity.

The real reason I began doing these daily posts was because I need to be able to say to my soul, you tried; you tried the helpfully offered suggestion of “writing prompts to cure blocks”, you tried free-writing to cure being blocked. I can write almost without thinking about anything; these posts are not deep or meaningful or even very demanding to compose. They’re the bread-and-butter of being a writer, nothing more. Following an email from a stranger who (I believe was well-meaning) explained that I was doing it wrong, I thought, frell it all, what is the point of this? I considered abandoning it, feeling shamed by the fact that I was doing it all wrong in the eyes of the clubbable bloggers.

But here I am, up to F, a day ahead of the official schedule, make of that what you will. I am a failure in so many ways, but perhaps I’ll stick with the term free spirit, instead.

6 thoughts on “F is for Failure

  1. It just shows that there is no need to use the other F word. When one is teetering on an edge the slightest push is enough to catapult. It seems a ‘well meaning’ push was received? The unspoken rules of engagement have bothered me for a long time, so my engagement has been spasmodic. Yet I value those contacts who remain occasional visitors, and life would be lonely without them. Their continued voluntarism is precious. Any obligation undermines it.


  2. Vivienne, you are a joy to read! Your words, your authenticity, a breath of fresh air! I often read your work, and occasionally comment when I hear my heart shouting for me to do so! F is for freedom, free will and fun! Hope your daily posts continue to nourish your soul as today’s “F” post has nourished mine. Some time back I wrote a similar post on my poetry blog titled, “Are you pressing the right “Like” button?” It might be your cup of tea, maybe not. Warm wishes to you, Deborah.


  3. Hear, hear! I’m sick of the expectations and am reducing the amount of following and commenting so that I don’t have a nervous breakdown. I’ve been drawn in at a cost of my health and your exhilarating post has given me the resolve I need; it’s given me the kick up the bum it sorely needed.


  4. I., like you, am not fond of group frenzies — especially if they hurt, not help, writing well-constructed prose as with the NaNoWriMo. I have always loved that Groucho Marx quote and the story that lies behind it.


  5. group frenzies with expectations attached … I think any sane person would jump out rather than in. Well-expressed. I wondered if you were/are taking part in the A-Z; your way of doing it is keeping your fingers frimble and that is a delight. So you see, this A-Z thingamy is/was a sort of writing prompt even if not very original … have fun with it!


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