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In the battlefield of success, failure is the drill sergeant nobody signed up for but everyone ends up reporting to. It’s like getting lost during a land navigation exercise – frustrating, embarrassing, but ultimately a lesson in finding your way back to camp.

As General Patton once quipped, “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” And trust me, in the military, hitting bottom is practically a rite of passage. From failed PT tests to botched maneuvers, we’ve all had our fair share of faceplants in the mud.

So, when it comes to writing, why should we expect anything different? Trying different things isn’t just encouraged; it’s practically a direct order. As General MacArthur famously said, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away – but only after they’ve tried every tactic in the book.”

Now, the motto “fail faster” might sound like something out of a training manual, but it’s surprisingly apt. Sure, you might not be storming the beaches of Normandy, but every rejected manuscript or scathing critique is just another battle scar to add to your collection. As they say in the Marines, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Well, consider failure as weakness leaving your manuscript.

Take it from Colonel Sanders – no, not that one – the real Colonel Sanders, who famously said, “I made a fortune selling fried chicken, but the real secret was failing at everything else first.” And if that doesn’t sum up the writing process, I don’t know what does. It’s like trying to field-strip a weapon blindfolded; you’re probably going to mess up a few times before you get it right.

But here’s the kicker: failure keeps us humble. It’s the drill instructor shouting in your face, reminding you that you’re not as hotshot as you think you are. As General Schwarzkopf once remarked, “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war.” Well, consider failure your daily dose of PT – it might suck, but it’s preparing you for the real battle.

In the end, finding your niche in writing is a lot like navigating a minefield – you never know when you’re going to step on a dud. But as General Eisenhower famously said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” So, keep trying different things, keep failing spectacularly, and above all, keep laughing in the face of adversity.

Because in the military – and in writing – success isn’t just about winning the battle; it’s about surviving the onslaught of failures along the way. So, strap in, Marine, and prepare for a wild ride. Failure might be the enemy, but with enough sarcasm and a healthy dose of military humor, you’ll come out on top – or at least with a good story to tell at the next formation.

Published inWriting