Reflecting on why you failed turns a negative into a positive. This doesn't mean it's easy, however. It's tough to admit when we've done something poorly. In order to learn from failure, though, you have to be honest about the shortcomings in your work. The sooner you admit to these shortcomings, the sooner you can improve.
When I look back on a failed work, I try to see it from an objective point of view, as if a stranger created it. This helps me see it in a new light and figure out where I went wrong. This strategy also helps me find awful material that I otherwise would have ignored. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cringed at the words I’ve committed to a final draft.
When I reflected on my goofy sci-fi novel, I found many areas where I needed improvement. Then I read writing books to improve my storytelling ability, studied new subjects for inspiration, and practiced writing as often as possible. Eventually, I developed new techniques and gathered up the confidence to start another big project, this one an illustrated e-book about a crazy goose. I told myself that I wouldn’t mess up like last time. I had learned my lesson.
So I went out and tried and failed again.