Everything that my many failures taught me

Jennifer Sizeland

Jennifer Sizeland

Every month we invite our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. This month’s theme was ‘failure’, Jen Sizeland shared some wise words on the restorative nature of crying in the toilets and seeing the funny side of failing…

Six years ago on an ill-advised journalism training course (I lasted six months in local news), a nun that I interviewed told me that depression was a part of life. I would extend her sentiment to failure also being a really pivotal part of life’s rich pattern and one that we like to pretend doesn’t exist.

The aforementioned training course came at a painful time for me, I felt I was too ‘old’ to be changing careers for the third time (I was still in my twenties) and I cried in the toilet for three hours after an actor pretending to be a difficult interviewee shouted at me. 

I didn’t embrace the ridiculousness of this Partridge-esque experience at the time, as I was in a bad place mentally, but there is so much comedy in failure, albeit slightly tragic in nature. Only six months in a career that I spent nine months training for at a cost of £3,500 seems like a failure (it took three years to pay off). However, it takes a lot to peer around that door and see if it’s for you. 

Many people don’t even get that far and I can personally attest as to why not as I have a portfolio of ‘toilet cries’ as varied and as long as my CV itself. I’ve learnt to always go in the second to last cubicle, the one at the end is too obvious and you’ll be found there.

Failure is as much about the time in your life as it is about the thing that you’re trying to achieve, as sometimes you’re just not there yet. The cultural obsession with achieving great success at a young age is as destructive as it is nonsensical. I’m in my mid-thirties now and I’m still experimenting, which I now hope to do for a long time yet!

These are the things that my failures have taught me:

1. My own resilience and ability to carry on.

Getting up after a fall isn’t easy, but the fact that we do it all the time in our competitive industries is pretty amazing if you ask me!

2. Failure can be quite funny.

Hey, it happened, mine it for all its worth!

3. Failure is an intrinsic part of creative life.

I’m sorry to say that creativity and failure are birds of a feather. 

4. Feeling bad about failure is inevitable.

It’s hard not to take rejection and failure personally, but it’s the carrying on that counts.

5. Giving yourself a hard time about failure is cruel and nobody deserves to feel bad about failure.

I’ve given myself such a hard time on numerous occasions, now I try not to let failure ruin my next idea!

Failure is everywhere so I’ve come to the conclusion that we can make life easier by accepting its omnipresence, no matter where we’re at in our journey. Failure shapes us to make our work the best that it can be and gives us something to strive for in our creative endeavours in every decade of our lives.

Check these out

From the Funny Women Team

Comedy in the Community

Women are the backbone of many communities such as in the running of charities, local authority services, arts organisations and more.  Yet their contributions are often invisible and

Read More »

March Gig Guide 

What better way to enjoy the lighter evenings than booking in some fantastic live comedy. We’ve rounded up our recommendations for this month’s funnies, from some new, some not-so-new tour shows, to our very own International Women’s Day event, to variety nights and more.

Read More »
Get notified when registration opens

Comedy Shorts Award Entry Requirements

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

Funny Women NextUp…Comedy Shorts Award

Are you a budding Director? Producer? Screenwriter? Are you collaborating with friends to make a funny video? Then we are looking for YOU!

If you have a short film or sketch that you think is hilarious, then enter your work for our Comedy Shorts Award to be in with a chance of winning some life-changing support and mentoring from comedy professionals.


A 1- 6 minute film that can take the form of anything comical. It’s a great opportunity to show us your creative flair and have fun!


This award is open to all women filmmakers and content developers. The film must be an original narrative created, produced and devised by a woman, or women, although male cast and crew members are allowed.


Yes – we require all films to be 6 minutes or under, to be entirely original dialogue, to not feature brand logos and most importantly, to only use music with the written consent of the performer and/or publisher either personally or via the PRS system https://www.prsformusic.com/ .


We will broadcast selected entries on our Funny Women YouTube channel and social media (so keep an eye out) and the top 10 finalists’ films will also hosted on a dedicated Funny Women Comedy Shorts Awards page on our website. We will also broadcast the final 3 entries as part of the grand final night.


Films are judged for production, concept, delivery/performance, creativity, writing and overall funniness. The top 10 films are then viewed by an independent judging panel of top television and film industry professionals who will choose one overall winner and two runners up. The final three will be invited to attend the grand final in London on the 23rd September.


2021 Funny Women Awards Prizes

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

If you need further information please contact us here