“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” Johnny Cash

Those are my favorite words from Johnny Cash. They have always helped me close the door on my past and use failure as a stepping stone.

I’m currently working on my first novel which is thriller. I’ve worked on this novel for almost 3 years now and nothing but fear of failure had always held me back on my writing. This fear made me corner with all the written papers of my novel. At first I had no idea why I felt this need to just write then not publish any of my work, but I just kept writing. Nobody knew I was writing, I kept it a secret because of fear of being judged and criticized which all built up to that fear of failure.

That fear of failure took the worst turn as I started pulling away from writing which was the only thing I just loved doing. It became a distraction, a big wall which stretched 20 feet  around me and no way out. I stayed away from writing completely not because I couldn’t write anything but because of fear of seeing my dreams crumble in front of my eyes before they become a success. I started making up excuses to not write at all, convincing my self for pulling away from writing.

This went on for years since my Junior school days. I found no reason to write at all until sometime in my Senior school days, my mother found my piled up papers of my novel. I got really mad at her for bringing out such, I didn’t want to see them but in her side it was a different perspective. She convinced me to keep writing, soon or later I will get over that fear. Honestly I was done with writing, I didn’t want to hear anything about it. I kept running away from it even though my mind had all these great ideas I could turn into short stories and novels but I was literally running away from it because of fear of failure.

“Why should I risk being the laughing stock of the world with my crappy writing? What if I fail at it?” that was the only thing I kept asking myself and forgot why I wanted to write. Not too long I had troubles with my studies at tertiary, pursuing my pharmacy degree started weighing so much on me, I was getting depressed. I started looking at my work, all that I’ve written so far, watched some videos on fear of failure and how to get over it. I learned fear of failure only made things worse because it means not willing to try and not willing to try brings with it regret and all other things that would even make it harder for you to believe in yourself.

I learned so much about getting over fear of failure, I wrote down my reasons for writing and I’m talking now with a full manuscript of my thrilling suspense novel (THE KILLER IN HER CLOSET) in the editorial process and will be published soon.

Writing, reading and researching helped me realise its not about fear of failure but what comes with not trying. That scared me the most, the thought of not giving it a try was weighing me down more that that fear of failure. My process of getting over the fear of failure started by creating that space for critics because as a writer there will always be critics around your writing.

Use fear of failure to achieve greatness! Remember fear causes more damage than failure.

Like Johnny Cash said, You build on failure. Failure is inevitable but it doesn’t mean you have to sit down on your dreams because you fear it. It only means be ready for failure at some point and use it as a stepping stone to achieve your dreams. Understand not giving it a try is worse than fear of failure. So go out there, work hard at your goal and believe in yourself no matter what.



  1. Not trying is worse than fear of failure
  2. Believe in yourself
  3. Work hard
  4. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone you trust if you are going through a hard time
  5. Be ready for anything
  6. The road to success is filled with trials and tribulations



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