How Failure Made Me Who I Am

Holden Sheppard - Author

Like most writers, I have been sculpted by failure far more than success.

One failure in particular has always hurt me, because it was the first.

It was only tonight, here in 2020, when I was in the middle of judging a writing competition myself, that I reflected on this failure and realised it may not have been what I thought it was.

I’ll set the scene, Sophia Petrillo style. Picture it: Sicily, 1912.

Or, more accurately, picture it: Geraldton, 2000. An eleven-year-old Holden Sheppard submits a short story to a writing competition for the first time in his life. It was an original mystery/detective story in the style of Donald J. Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown books I was devouring from the primary school library at the time.

I had, at this point, been actively writing in my spare time for three years. There was almost nothing emotional or powerful about…

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From 2009 to 2019 / In Limbo to Dreamer

In 2009, I wasn’t in a good place.

There were happy and awesome moments scattered throughout this past decade (marrying my husband was the #1 best moment of the decade and of my life 🥰) but I had dismissed my dreams in order to do what I thought was right. So for years I was in limbo, feeling like I would never achieve what I dreamt of achieving when I was a kid.

In 2019, I had turned my life around by that point.

Changed a lot of things starting with becoming the best version of me that I could. I stopped eating my feelings and instead focused on going for my dreams. I focused on my writing and gave time to my dreams. I have now started making videos on YouTube, doing radio on a weekly basis, been published in an anthology, won a mentorship and a fellowship, read my work on stage at The Wheeler Centre and I still have a lot I want to do. Now I feel happy because I am doing what I’m meant to be doing. It’s only the beginning, baby! 🤩

I spent too much of my life not being kind to myself and not listening to my heart.

Not going to silence myself ever again.

I’ll achieve my dreams, I’ll work damn hard at it! 😁🤘

Happy New Year everybody! 🤩🎊🎉✨