Funny thing about writing a book. When you're done, you write it again. And then when that's done, you edit it and revise it, until you decide it should be narrated from only one perspective. So you write that version until you have an amazing breakthrough that the book shouldn't be from the perspective of your homeless fifteen year old girl, no! It should be told through the eyes of a dog using only small dog words, like sit, stay and good boy. What a writing feat that will be! Award winning for sure! So you write that version and then you realize, oh no, that idea sucks.
So you write the book again.
Writing requires persistence, stubbornness and a willingness to do it over and over again until it's just right. Or right enough. Or right to the point where you hope someone will read it and like it and recommend it to a friend.
Now parenting on the other hand also requires persistence and stubbornness and a willingness, not to do it over and over again because three children are quite enough for me, thank you, but a willingness to be bad at it, try again, watch your kids fail and try again, and then do it all over again the next day.
So over the past five years I have been co-parenting growing teenagers who are lovely well-adjusted young adults one day and then roller coaster hormonal beings the next, all while trying and failing to get published until, after many years, I finally succeeded. Why do I share this? Do I deserve pity or an award? No, not at all. There are parents all over the globe doing this or something like this or more and nobody gets a medal.
I share this because when you realize how imperfect even our best efforts can be, when you're faced with the magnitude of preparing adults for the world beyond home and you can't see the path ahead because it's actually several paths preparing to diverge, then failure isn't terrifying. It's life changing.
Failure doesn't have to be scary or humiliating. Instead, it can be how we learn and listen and grow and try again until we eventually kick ass. Success is so much sweeter after we've struggled in the mud of not-so-greatness. Hard work is learned when we pull ourselves up, put on a new pair of shoes, and do it all over again.
It's what I have learned and continue to learn from writing and this long road to publishing. It's what I hope my kids are developing as they travel into adulthood. To become strong people with the capacity to fail, learn, fail, learn, and try again until they get it right.