As my daughter gets ready for her mission to Chile, there are a lot of things she is nervous about. The biggest thing is the language. She didn't take Spanish in high school, and--like me--she speaks Spanish like a white girl. Our pronunciation is terrible.
The other day we went to the church distribution center in Mesa and saw some Spanish speaking sister missionaries. Since our next errand was to look for shoes for her mission, I urged her to ask the sisters about their shoes and what they would recommend. The conversation eventually came around to learning a language. My daughter asked them how long it took them to learn the language. One sister said it took her 5 months, the other, 7 months.
Then one of the sisters gave her this advice when it comes to learning the language in the MTC: "Fail with Honor." She went on to explain that everyone failed at learning the language in the MTC, but instead of getting discouraged, or giving up, embrace the failure with your head held high and continue to ask questions. Continue to work hard and continue to fail. Because if you're not afraid of failure, you will learn faster that those that are afraid to try for fear they will say something wrong.
As I thought about this advice as it pertains to writing, I realized that I haven't always failed with honor in this area. There were lots of moments where I retreated into myself and was afraid to let anyone read my writing. I also quit querying for six years. I realized I let my fear of failure slow down my progress. I still progressed because I never quit writing but how much faster would I have progressed if I wasn't afraid to show my work to other talented people, or I wasn't afraid to query an agent that may have given me some much needed advice?
So my advice today is to fail with honor. Don't be afraid of failure, embrace it as part of the learning process. Recognize that our life on this earth is full of failures because we are not perfect, but God knew this and prepared a way for us to rise above our failures. Thanks to Jesus Christ's sacrifice, we can all fail with honor as we repent and try harder to do better in all areas of our life.