My art professor once told me, "Artists have to paint 100 terrible paintings before they paint one good one. So get all the terrible ones out of the way as quickly as possible."

I wrote my first song at the tender age of 14, and my parents cried when they heard it. So I think I imagined that every song I wrote from that point forward would be a winner, but much to my surprise, they weren't! I tried writing a few others after that, and they just weren't so great, so I didn't start to really write and create again until I was 21. And the thing about writing, or art, or any type of creative process, is that it's a part of you. And when someone doesn't like it, it is incredibly difficult to separate yourself and realize they still like you, just not that song! I took great offense at criticism, and struggled with the desire to write, but not wanting to fail.

But the funny thing about failure is that it is not final. It shapes us into stronger people, sanding down edges. It teaches us to pick ourselves back up and move forward. It even makes things easier down the road since we learn what not to do. I think failure is a friend.

And failure adds color to what would have been so plain. The "failures" in my life have not turned out to be the terrible life-ending events I thought they would be. They turned out to be beautiful pictures of grace and redemption. They taught me to carry on. They gave me a story. They gave me hope.

May you keep writing your story.

Keep creating.

Keep doing.

Keep moving.

This is not the end.

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