Writing, John Green, And Personal Failure

It’s been four years since John Green’s last and most successful novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was released. In the video below John Green talks about what it is that has held him back from releasing anything since. He has written some of the most iconic novels of any author alive today. His books truly resonate with readers. They’re quotable, they tug at the heart, and they try to say something meaningful about love, identity, and our place within those enormous concepts. And yet, whilst publicly succeeding, he has privately failed.

To most of us, writing and reading is never going to be anything more than a hobby. Something done to keep us from going insane. Publishing a novel, let alone publishing a hugely successful novel, may never happen. But if it does, of course, that would be the ultimate success. To be a writer, that golden dream once obtained, would be all that is needed.

However, life is rarely ever that simple. Failure comes in many forms and it’s just as destructive to the successful as it is to the destitute. Which is hard to hear. But it’s the truth. Writing, which is a way to stay sane for so many people, was tainted for John Green because it became something he didn’t feel he could ever live up to. In short, his enormous success had changed the way he defined success for his writing.


Source: The Gospel Coalition

This happens to people in just about every industry. Succeeding so well at something that it makes everything else afterward taste of anticlimax. There are a few enchanted things in life which need to be kept separate from our success and failures. Whether it’s writing, reading, playing tennis, or cooking, something that brings you solace is always going to be more important, and something far greater, than simple success or failure. And something that you truly love will be something that you always come back to, at some point or another.

You have to find the right reason for you to keep going. Whether that’s, as it became for John Green, because it’s fun and you want to share it with the world, or because it allows you a moment of silence in a deafening world, our passions are what make us beautifully unique; they make us human. There’s no way to know what will happen, but, as John Green says at the end of the video, you have to be okay with not knowing.

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

~ John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

YouTube Channel: vlogbrothers


Featured image via Parade

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