A Juxtaposition of Dreams and Failures (by Robert Quick)

I’m beginning to lose patience for people who “want to do things”. I think having dreams and goals is good for a person, but a lot of people in my life have recently adopted a defeatist attitude. Usually the invisible ending to “I want to that-”, or “I wish I could do that-”, or “I’d like to do that-” is “-but I can’t.”

Yes, you can. I fill up my days so that I am busy every day of the week (or near enough). From sports to video games, to creative writing labs, I don’t leave myself a lot of down time. There is very little time spent on a couch flipping through channels filled with junk. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll make time for Fringe, Good Eats, or the Daily Show but I don’t sit down to watch tv with nothing in mind. I’m not looking for a pat on the back. I don’t need it- I’m busy!

The same people who have been telling me they “want to do things” also call me lucky. Luck has very little to do with it. I put together most of the events. I plan the things that I want to do, and here is the key part-then I do them. I would say that the only lucky part of my life is being open to opportunities that presented themselves. I would never have started playing Thursday night foursquare (yes with the red rubber ball) if I hadn’t of accepted the random invitation by a stranger in an English class.

How does this relate to you?

Don’t “want to be a writer”- Be a writer! Do it!

I am being one hundred percent serious. Quit pining for it and start making aggressive stabs at it. I’ve found that a disappointing number of people have not seen the OT Star Wars and this quote from The Empire Strikes Back will go over their heads. Oh well.

“Do or do not, there is not try.” (-Yoda)

What isn’t said, is that it is ok to fail. Your finished project can be a failure and still be valuable. Failures give you experience and perspective. Most successful people don’t do great at their first attempt, it takes many frustrating attempts for them to learn what they need to know.

“Failure is the stepping stone to greatness.” (Attributed to Oprah)

Ficly is my failing grounds and that is not a slight against any author or story on here. I came here looking to forge myself into writer, to find my voice, and to experiment with different styles. I am not happy with every single one of my stories here but I know that with each story behind me I am becoming the person I want to be.

I invite you to do the same.


  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    edited title so I don’t get yelled at again.

  • HSAR

    Nobody judges anyone here, which I like. I come out here to experiment, to make sure that I don’t fall into a rut with my writing and to try new things out.

    I’ve got to agree with you, however. It sounds tired and clichéd, but wishing to be a good writer will get you nowhere. Read more! Write more! I sucked at writing barely three years ago, but I’ve been writing my heart out ever since. Go forth and be a better writer! Read good stuff, and make a note of why it’s good. Read bad stuff, and prop yourself up by noticing the mistakes! Critique yourself endlessly! Shoot for the moon, because if you miss you’ll only end up in the stars!

    I won’t say you’re lucky, Elshahawk, because I haven’t seen much of how you do things, but I can certainly say you’re not afraid to seize an opportunity when it pops up, even if it might turn out to be a bad move. Lady Luck favours the bold, though!

  • HSAR

    Damn, title-edit-ninja’d. Adjust that accordingly.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Oh and P.S. I make poor look luxurious. I want to make it clear that ONLY you guys know and regard me with such lights in your eyes. If you could see me in real life, every day, you would see how people smile in that fake way, only speak to me when they need me to do something, and think I am the lowest man on the totem pole. You would know that I WANT to do so much more, but feel stuck. I can’t see yet what I am doing and where I am headed.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    also, Sam, I do admit I take the bull by the horns, even if I break all the china and spend months sweeping the floor to pay for it all. (metaphors ftw)

  • someday_93

    Previous comment deleted. Love to Elsha. And everyone, really. Smile, it’s a good day!! :)

  • Robert Quick

    Man I think all that comment judo destroyed my carefully crafted response.

    First off

    @Elsha- Thanks! Also a thousand apologies for receiving the brunt of the criticism meant for me.

    @Shu Sam Chen- Thanks you for your comments. I’m glad that you agree with me. I was starting to feel like a monster.

  • someday_93

    Side note: Elsha’s second comment on here doesn’t make sense because I was telling her, in the comment I deleted, that with all due respect she IS lucky. :P

    I do believe in going out and “doing” things. But some of this sort of rubbed me the wrong way… I think that, in life, sometimes there’s time for doing, and sometimes there’s not. I don’t want to feel judged for not “doing” right away… because it’s not because I’m afraid, or because I don’t think I can do it. It’s because, right now, I’m trying to do the necessary things. To get my life back in order… sometimes we have to work at life before we can totally enjoy it.

    Okay sorry, that’s bordering on a rant. Just another opinion, meant with respect.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    @RQ, it wasn’t really brutal.. just unexpected. Kinda threw me. I agree with the tough love portion of your post. I need to get out and just do it. Writers write. It’s not lucrative, but it’s a passion and a talent that begs to be nurtured.

  • Robert Quick


    This was not inspired by anyone at Ficly. Let me be clear, I am not condemning people for having dreams. I am saying that complaining about unfulfilled dreams while not working toward them is ludicrous. Attributing my “success” to luck diminishes the work I put into each thing, and shows how powerless my friends perceive themselves. I am not calling anyone out, I am cheering them on. YOU CAN DO IT! I HAVE FAITH IN YOU!

    I put success in quotes because my life is pretty good but I am cash poor. I think I might have made 6-7 grand last year. Woo hoo. Let the good times roll! I manage to get by doing the things I love, like writing. And that is why I think I am rich while being poor.

  • someday_93

    I agree Robert. I admire people who work for what they have… being one of those people. I don’t have money. There’s a lot of things I don’t have, but what I want, I work for. I’m going to college next week :) Without family, without support… just work.

    We should have a Ficly cheering squad :)

    I don’t mean anything I said as a personal attack, I promise.

  • 32 ^2

    Robert, when personal moral chords are struck, you’re not responsible for the responding tone, you haven’t done anything wrong my Ficly brother.

    Your piece is honest and beautiful, It made me cry.

    In a nutshell? Your talking about self motivation vs. complacency.

    I’ve lived both sides too. I used to be very active and productive. An illness has physically slowed me down and I let it take me over. When I found Ficly, I realized that I had abandoned my brain power and intellect too.

    Thanks Robert. I realize if I’m forced to slow down one way, I need to speed it up in another way. The energy and power of the mind in extremely underrated, and I’m on the right path by performing some form of mental exercise…..And Ficly is my favorite mental gym of choice and you’re one of my favorite workout partners.

    Your truth is powerful; thanks for “spotting” me.

  • THX 0477

    It’s a nice post, and I’m glad you guys are taking the blog and running with it.

    For me it’s not about doing or not doing but about prioritizing. I may have a million things I want to be, but I try not to whine about it. I am what I am because of choices along the way. It’s impossible to be everything of which one fantasizes; you make priorities.

    I think that’s what I took from the post, since it’s not like I’ve been sitting around. I’ve accomplished lots of stuff, not just success as a writer. For me, it’s about being okay with the priorities I’ve said rather than bemoaning the ones that had to be put on hold.

  • Tad Winslow

    Wisdom isn’t complicated. It’s clear, to the point, and rooted in common sense. Your post reflects these qualities. And it’s funny how uncommon common sense really is. This simple message you impart is exactly what aspiring writers need to hear. Wishing the days away and never trying is the only true failure.

    “You can dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I’d rather live it. Because dreamers always chase but never get it.” Aesop Rock

    Thanks for such a good post, Robert. I will continue to take this advice to heart.

  • Sir Bic

    Should we call this a Jedi Juxtaposition? Let me tell you, Robert, I agree with anyone who quotes Mater Yoda, as I am in complete agreement with you my friend!

    Life is a result of either “doing” or “not doing”; yes or no; on or off; “1” or “0”. Try is used as an excuse. Yoda didn’t let Luke get away with it, and neither should we let ourselves use “try” that way. To be successful you have to see yourself successful and “do” what you need to “do” to get there.

    In an earlier conversation that Luke and Master Yoda had, when first they met, we learn another of life’s lessons: Using the Force, Luke is unable to pull the X-wing fighter out of the swap. In turn, Yoda effortlessly pulled the ship out, with his eyes closed even! Luke then says, “I don’t, I don’t believe it!” The Master replies tersely, “That is why you fail.”

    “To achieve it, you’ve got to believe it!” – Qui-Gon Bic []o)

  • Tad Winslow

    “Nothing will work unless you do.” Maya Angelou