I’m just going to finally say it, my second notebook was a flop compared to my first.
Ok, maybe “failure” is a way too harsh word for what happened with my second volume. But it’s a dicey topic that I’ve been discussing with Andrew and the women who work with me and it’s something I wanted to write about because I think we all experience this on some rank in our lives- be it parenting, our jobs, athletics…no matter the stage on which it comes, it stings regardless. When we achieve something great, and set out to do it again and fall short- what can and should we learn from that know-how?
As of late, an odd thing happened yet. My first book is a best-seller once again. It’s been out for over five years, and in checking Amazon today its# 1 in Interior Decorating and Decorative Artwork and# 3 in Interior Design- and ranked # 847 of ALL THE BOOKS on Amazon( that’s 33 million journals !) It’s gone into it’s 12 th printing this month which bring us to 180,000 imitations. Even my publisher is bewildered by the numbers! It sold very well when it came out, but lately it’s gone gangbusters again- which is unusual( and incredible !!!)
How is this still happening?
In contrast, my second book is simply in its second printing with 24,000 fakes in the world. Ranked # 26,166 on Amazon. Yes, it’s been out for much less time, but it also is selling way less and slower- as such, I feel fairly disappointed. OK fine, I felt gutted. It took me almost three years to write that record, while study how to be a parent to Henry, going through IVF multiple times, originating my business and renovating my house. A lot of work went into it, I’d say direction more direct than the first, and I was SO proud of it. I still am- the design is better, the writing is stronger and the content quite educational. But for some reason it did not resonate the action the first did. I thoughts for sure that the family/ living stylishly with teenagers angle would be so well received given what I know about my demographic…but instead perhaps it alienated those who don’t have kids or aren’t in the” active parenting” chapter of life? I pushed HARD for the new backbone pattern scheme when my publisher wanted to stick to stripes again, and perhaps that was a mistake? I exactly didn’t want to do the same thing, the stripes were great but there are so many motifs in all countries of the world! I was too so sure people would desire it- blue-blooded is our# 1 solicited/ selling color in our run, after all. It all felt like it was going to be another raging success…perhaps a BIGGER success. And then it wasn’t. And all the relinquishes I made to make it happen a second time felt completely squandered. But why? Certainly I should be happy enough to have had a New York Times best-seller one time, was it simply covetous to reflect I could do it again? Were the risks I made in not echoing the same exact formula the reason it didn’t work?
Andrew is one of the best people I know at flunking. And I means that in the most flattering sense of the utterance. He is NOT afraid of risk and therefore has precipitated on his face a few times, and picked himself back up, looked for the lessons in those loss and moved forward wiser. It’s made him a considerably better, more astute employee, director and person in general. I, on the other hand am quite afraid of risk and do not handle failure well. And by “not well” I make wading, self-blame and the general inability to let things proceed easily- in other words, horribly. I blaspheme up and down after this new book came out I was DONE writing books. I felt divulged by the process. After all that work, to have it flop signified there was no way I’d ever try it again, sort of a self-protective measure, I reckon. In some spaces I cause it delete the positive feelings I had towards writing and creating volumes that was so alive and strong within me after the first journal came out. I’ve stopped writing altogether for the most part, even on this blog, because I felt such a deep feel of los. But as I rethink the process, and the response, I’ve heard a little voice in my premier telling me” maybe not too fast, Erin “. I recently re-watched a TEDtalk by Elizabeth Gilbert about originality and failure and it certainly got me thinking about how the process itself is the success , not the research results( can you even IMAGINE the pressure of having to follow up Eat, Pray Love ???!) I actually truly experience writing works, visually laying them out and putting all the slice together to create something beautiful and hopefully interesting too. So why do I have to have feelings success for it to feel worth make? Why do I feel the need for outside applause instead of simple self-satisfaction? Shouldn’t it be various kinds of like how a person is enjoy operating and training for a marathon, and yet be super joyou and proud to just finish , not win.
As I’ve aged and get through more “shit”, I’ve gotten a little bit better at trying to look at knowledge in a more positive, wholistic dawn( Andrew is probably laughing right now and calling bullshit ), but I genuinely “ve tried”. Social media doesn’t help us do this though, it’s literally a scrolling sample of how comparison is the thief of joy- establishing it easy to feel glory when the gettin’ is good, and certainly, truly low-pitched when things go amiss or get stagnant( clue my current state of mind- being unable to shoot brand-new assignments and trying to find my footing as a working momma with a babe and a toddler ). But I think this pandemic, as horrific as it is, has hopefully cured beings take stock of what is important and what is fluff, what is truly worth stressing about and what is something to let go. Is the facts of the case that my journal didn’t do great worth crying over? NO. Is celebrating the fact that I’ve written two journals worth celebrating? YES. I it is necessary prompt myself that it’s not something everyone gets to do and the feeling I felt hampering my first ever copy of my first diary in my hands.
Andrew asked me the other day what I’d say was the moment in life I was happiest( besides having “their childrens”) and I was immediate to answer that it was the mini-vacation we made at the end of my first book expedition. I was BLISSFULLY joyful. Not because of any accolades or sales lists , nothing of that had come out yet, but because of what I fulfilled and the full, incredible suffer of session so many amazing parties and traveling “the two countries ” with my husband. I recall the feeling of giving pas of promise, perfection, unhappines, prospect and really relaxed into the moment fully and let myself ENJOY it. I need to do that most frequently , not only during majestic epoches in life when I feel I “deserve” to do it. And cause myself experience doing what I love to do without expectation or a lofty aim I have to meet. I like to work hard, I want to accomplish things in life, but that should not be the only beat I dance to. A grip from person I enjoy should imply more than a pat on the back from a stranger, after all.
Will I write another record? I’m not saying yes, but as of today, I’m no longer saying no. Other parties will write bigger books. Better works. But that no longer be interpreted to mean that I can’t try again. Failure doesn’t have to equate to an ending- maybe exactly a instruction in humility and a method by which we can reframe how we evaluate ourselves, our times and how we characterize success.
The best part of my second book- taking Henry on part of my tour and realizing him indicate diaries too !!!
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