failing or not failing at projects

So hey, you know what we’ve never talked about? That book I’m supposed to write.

Do you remember the book in question? The one where bluishorange readers contributed money for me to take a road trip all the way around the country and write a book about it? And I took the money and used it to go on the road trip in 2007 but haven’t finished the book? Yeah, that one.

I’ve written about 1/3 of the book. I think if you calculate it by word, that’s something like ten words every day for the last six years. Obviously that’s not what I’ve been doing, but that is a very, very slow average writing time. Suffice it to say, it isn’t going very well.

Or it wasn’t, anyway. For a long time I assumed that I’d never finish it; that’d I’d totally failed. Then two things happened.

1) I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Reading that amazing book upset me at first, because it’s basically the exact book I pictured myself writing, only better. But then I thought, hey, if she can write a book about a trip she took years earlier, then maybe I can, too.

2) I went to XOXO. You guys, that place was filled with people who were doing projects, who had started projects and stopped them, who had projects they were supposed to be working on, whose projects consumed most of their waking time. Projects, projects, projects all over the place.

These people were brilliant and amazing. Brilliant and amazing people often intimidate me, but these brilliant and amazing people seemed to think I was okay. Some of them even might have thought I was brilliant and amazing, too. If they can work on their projects and/or abandon them and come back to them later, who’s to say I can’t do the same thing?

I felt really guilty about The Book Situation for a long time. I took money from people in exchange for something I never did! I don’t even know some of those people anymore. What must they think of me? But I’ve decided that “something I never did” isn’t an accurate way to describe the book. I’d rather describe it as “something I haven’t completed yet.”

Because I will do it! I will. If a kooky lady who changed her last name to Strayed can do it, then so can I. It might take me a long time, but I’m going to do it.

I’m telling you all this now because…I have a Kickstarter. I’ve started my own line of sustainable jewelry, and I’m trying to raise money to expand my business to include wholesale customers.

I was so, so reluctant to post about it here, because I knew that some of my more long-term readers would see it and think, hey, didn’t she ask for money before? She did, you guys. She asked for money to go on a road trip, she took the trip, it was two of the best months of her life, and she’s still not finished with the book.

I am going to finish the book, but I am also going to have a successful jewelry business! I am making jewelry from recycled or sustainable materials, and I’m using recycled packaging and marketing materials, too. You can read all about it on my Kickstarter page, where there’s more information and a lovely video that my sister Megan made.

Megan is a genius.  All I did was write a script and give it to Megan, and then she made all sorts of notes on it about which parts would be talking head and which parts would be B-roll. When she said B-roll I almost fainted, I was so impressed. We shot it and then she edited the whole thing together and set it to music. When she gave it to me for feedback, it was perfect. I didn’t even need her to change anything! Sometimes I’m surprised that the two of us came from the same parents.

Anyway, I’m telling you about this because I do need more backers, and it would be kind of a waste not to post about it here. This is a totally different project from the book, but I understand if you helped me out before and you’re feeling a bit burned.

But if you are not feeling burned, I’d appreciate some help. This is a project I’m really excited about, that I really believe in. The rewards are pretty good, too! They’ll make super Christmas gifts if jewelry’s not your thing.

Thanks, readers! ILY.

7 thoughts on “failing or not failing at projects

  1. Actually you had me correct some grammar in the credits :P

    But I’m glad you liked it so much! The jewelry is beautiful, and the business and the book are going to be awesome.

  2. I remember that very well. You know one detail I remember in particular? You stated very clearly that you did not know for certain whether you would ever write the book, and could not guarantee that donors would get anything in exchange for their donations. Maybe some donors did or do feel burnt by the experience; I don’t know them, so I couldn’t say. But not me. I donated because I already considered you a friend, and it was a worthy project, and clearly the trip would be good for you regardless, and it also meant that I’d get a chance to meet you in person. And we did meet, and we had a fun afternoon hanging out! So that was totally worth it. Anyhow, the point is, although you were kickstarting projects before Kickstarter, you were not under any obligation to actually produce anything; you asked us to fund a national road trip, and you took the trip, and you were clear that might be all that came of it. You’re good, no need to feel guilty.

    Of course, it’d still be cool if you did end up writing a book. :-)

    And speaking of feeling guilty, I do intend to help fund your Kickstarter, I’m still waffling over how much I can give, and whether the pieces you’re offering match my mom’s style, as she’s the likeliest recipient.

    Also, I feel a little embarrassed that I keep writing these long earnest comments. Next time I need something pithy and witty.

  3. P.S. The first Kickstarter link (“I have a Kickstarter”) is broken, it tacks on the Kickstarter URL to this page’s URL.

    P.P.S. That doesn’t count as my pithy and witty comment.

  4. So you made me a necklace years and years ago. I hardly ever wear that color. Except it matches a shirt I wear with my suit at job interviews. Everytime I wear that necklace things go well. Thanks for making me that necklace.

  5. I’m so bummed I’m just now reading this and can no longer contribute to your Kickstarter. I was a loyal reader 10 years ago, and have been checking back sporadically since you slowed down. I just checked back today and was pleasantly surprised by recent posts and have been catching up.

    I donated to your road trip, and frankly, I forgot about the book part of it. I was just glad to help you go on your trip in some small way. I would have never felt any kind of burn about it… I’m thinking that’s not to the kind of thing you can rush. When it’s right, it’s right.

    I’m so glad you’re posting again. I’ve always quietly related to you in so many ways and you really helped me feel less lonely during my twenties. We’re about the same age, from the same city. I feel like I’ve grown with you somehow. I would be so weirded out if a total stranger said that to me… but, hey, you’re the one that started a blog. I just happened to stumble across it at a time when I needed to hear the things you were saying.

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