Announcing my new and really scary project – Stories Unspun (part of my quest to get over the fear of failure)

I’ve not posted for a while, sorry about that if you missed me 😉 but I’ve been working on something that I’m super excited about (more details further down…)

Failure as a tool - 2013vinod-19056

Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about failure. On our manifesto, we have “Fail well and bounce back” because that is a hallmark of being adaptable and willing to take risks when doing something new and different – creating, not following, a map etc.  Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and creator of the infographic above says “No failure means no risk, which means nothing new.”  As failure is so importance, I’ve been thinking about my own failures, especially trying to focus in on my most spectacular one and what I learned from it. But I quickly realised that I couldn’t because I don’t have one.

It’s not that I haven’t got things wrong or made mistakes. I just haven’t really done it on a spectacular scale. The closest I got was dropping out of university in first year after realising that I wasn’t suited to Computer Science. I reapplied the following year and studied Psychology instead, something that I am still passionate about to this day (I also love tech but more in terms of what it can help me do than how it works. You need to be good at details and that, I struggle with). So it worked out for the best in the end but not because I learned anything particularly from it. I was experimenting and just hadn’t really thought it through properly.

I think the real reason I haven’t failed spectacularly is because I haven’t taken a real risk with something I love and want to grow. I’d much rather keep my ideas to myself and nurture them and love them and not let anyone see them so they can’t get hurt… People can be so nasty and cruel, or worse, indifferent. Or that’s what I tell myself so that I can hide away in my safe study and not let my creations see the light of day.

Ok, let’s get right down to it.  I don’t like rejection.  Does anybody?  Seth Godin calls for us to “dance with fear” to overcome the discomfort of it.  In order to get over his fear of rejection, Jia Jiang (watch his story here) decided to do what I think is like a naked-breakdance-meets-Blackpool-Tower-ballroom competition dance with fear!  He forced himself into situations where he was bound to get rejected.  This way, he believed, he could get used to it and undertaking greater risks wouldn’t feel so bad (as always with these kind of stories there’s a great twist when people actually started saying yes to his ridiculous requests!)  Even when he was rejected he learned that sometimes the ‘flinch’ – the anticipation of something bad happening – is actually worse than the real thing (Julien Smith’s book of the same name is free – you can find a link to it on my “interesting reading” page above).

And so, with all that in mind, I’m would like to unveil what I’ve been working on for the last month.  *holding of breath* *Drum roll please…*

My new website for developing my writing:  Stories Unspun – a site for publishing my novel “The Extraordinary Reality of Ella Rove” – one part at a time. 

As I’ve said before here, I’ve been working on this story for the best part of 7 years now.  Yes, 7 years.  I have let little bits out occasionally but then quickly scooped them up and tucked them up nice and safe in my computer.  But now, I’ve decided to dance with fear as well as test out this new economy where you don’t have to have connections with high and mighty people or with the gatekeepers in order to publish.  I’m putting out the story for free in the hopes of gathering followers who like it and want to help me whip it into shape so I can self-publish.  I also have a fantastic narrator of the story, Elena who at age 11, may be giving Stephen Fry a run for his money in the audio book market one day soon.

Could you have a look for me and let me know what you think?  If you like it, share it with your friends.  I need lots of help!  This is really uncomfortable territory for me but I believe in the story so much that I have been telling all the gremlins in my head to shut the hell up, and let the light in for it to grow.  Who knows?  It might not go anywhere but it’s getting the dance started and I’m having fun doing it.

Hope you having a great week.  I’m going to a TEDx conference at University of Edinburgh this week. So unbelievably excited!  Will let you know how it goes.

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