, May 27, 2018
(view all comments by Hillary Mohaupt)
John McNally's book grew out of a Facebook post composed on a whim to list his failures as a writer – the books that never sold, the stories that were never published. The response from his Facebook connections was overwhelming: other writers thanked him for his frankness and shared his post along with their own list of failures. But The Promise of Failure is not just a list of failures -- it's a collection of essays that encourage the reader to determine not only how she writes, but why. Pithy and full of insight, this book is full of hard-hitting, tweet-length advice a writer could scribble out on a Post-it note and slap above their writing desk for inspiration. Yet McNally’s book is not an instruction manual; it’s a guidebook for finding your own pain points, for helping you identify what it is that makes failure and endurance so difficult, for measuring your progress against your own work and expectations, rather than the perfectly curated success of your social media connections. “Learn what your own strengths and weaknesses are,” he writes, which is good advice not only for writing but for every professional endeavor you might ever undertake. In the end, McNally encourages each writer to work her own way to the kind of failure that keeps her coming back to the page.