The Corrections: Succeeding at Failure in the Creative Process

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Type:
Creative Writing Practice Reflections on Form and Process, 2021, pp. 161-175
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Failure is embedded within any creative process, and a writer’s number of drafts may be regarded as a series of perfect failures that are all necessary in order for the work to achieve final completion. Writing about Flaubert’s struggles with style, Roland Barthes claimed there is a ‘linguistics of corrections’ which is beyond the usual corrections of style that writers must make in order to complete their work. These corrections are not arbitrary, but mean the writer experiences the ‘structure of the language as a passion’. Failure in writing is therefore something to be understood and embraced as a process, rather than an obstacle to be surmounted. Using references to the author’s own hard-earned but ultimate success in turning a short story into a novel, this chapter examines the process of failure and how creative writers learn from it..
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