Thursday, July 25, 2013

Celebrating Failure

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
You are probably thinking to yourself right now:

"Did I read that right? Does that really say 'Celebrating FAILURE'??"

There is nothing wrong with your eyes! I did indeed say 'celebrating failure'. Let me elaborate...

Time to Celebrate Failure
Thanks to a link from one of my friends (and dear blog buddy), I discovered this interesting blog post that really spoke to me - "A Party for Failure".

It came at a good time since I recently encountered something I consider to be a failure:

My submission to teach workshops at my local community college will not be taking place for the Fall season, which I had hoped for.

I really felt like a failure when I received this news, despite the education manager requesting that I contact him later in September to be included in the Winter catalog of classes...

My French fold book workshop which turned into a party event this year - this was NOT a failure!

I also felt like failure when the art books I submitted for an eco art exhibit for Worldfest Earth Day didn't make the cut...

My recycled and repurposed art books made from vintage paper ephemera and artful bottle caps

Then, I felt like a failure while participating in "Make Art That Sells", due to my lack of graphic design skills and I felt like a failure again when I tried to sell my goods at the Silverlake fair last month, barely making $20 for all my efforts.

It feels like it's been a summer of 'failures'.

But as Jo Anna Rothman wrote in "A Party for Failure":

"We all fail. The more amazing things we do, the greater the opportunity for failure." 

Learning to make colorful papers at the Artful Journey Retreat this year - this was a great success!

Reading these lines made me feel so much better about my recent 'failures' because these words helped me to see that I am TRYING! Of course there will be some failed opportunities along the way, but each attempt has got to get me closer to having the creative career I want, doesn't it?

Or I could look at it this way:

If you throw enough cooked spaghetti at the ceiling, some of it is bound to stick eventually! ;)

Starting A Habit Of Completion
When I wrote about my struggles with the Make Art That Sells workshop, I mentioned the concept of "identity capital", something I've always done for myself but never really knew had a name. One thing that usually adds to my identity capital is when I complete a project, especially one I may have begun and dropped for a few years...so I have recently begun a "habit of completion" so I can continue to add to my identity capital:

A project from last December - a file folder book project from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine - Everything was in place, ready to be stitched...

Lately, I've been sharing some projects that I have been returning to, or knitting projects I am completing. It's a great feeling to return to these projects - they remind me of the excitement I had when I first started them...

Vintage style button bracelet - this one is VERY close to completion - Maybe I can complete the necklace I began in Nina Bagley's workshop 2 years ago!

Being a Creative Beast can be exciting when there are so many projects I can choose to make! On the other hand, it can be overwhelming when I keep starting projects and don't finish them. These unfinished projects tend to add to the clutter that is my home...

 The file folder book with stitching of paper (and pockets!) completed...

...but getting these projects finished is definitely adding to my 'identity capital' and my self esteem as I begin to cultivate a new 'habit of completion'...

My book before a hand stitched binding and some extra additions - stay tuned for details!

Another quote from Jo Anna Rothman that spoke to me was this one:

"I’ve failed enough that I am no longer afraid of it."

Yes, I know exactly what she means by this! I've done many, many things in my life and held many jobs and not all of them worked out, so I know what failure looks like. But I also know what it means to reach out for something you want...and sometimes getting it!

A drawing I made for publication in a wonderful book written by Patti Digh - I tried and I succeeded!

One of the reasons I share my attempts at opportunities here is because I often find other people blogging about amazing, fantastic opportunities that happen to them, but I see very little reporting about the REAL HARD WORK that goes into making those amazing, fantastic opportunities come to fruition...and what I don't like about that is it begins to appear that 'magical' things can happen with virtually no effort. From my long and vast experience, I know this is not really true...

And I don't want any of you dear blog readers to think that amazing opportunities happen in my life without a few glitches or failures along the way, because I know better...and I think you do to!

With that, I will begin some new habits - a habit of completion and a habit to celebrate failure, both of which will be shared here with you, as always.

Next Monday is my 4 year 'blogiversary' and of course this is something to celebrate...with a giveaway! I hope you'll stop by to continue celebrating everything creative here with me...as well celebrating my 'failures!


Sometimes Creativity is messy and that's okay!!

Do YOU have any failures that you can celebrate? How will you CELEBRATE some of those failures?

1 comment:

Kathryn Hansen said...

that's the beauty and the beast of the internet...you only typically see the good stuff. we all have our struggles in life...especially creating a creative life...and at least at the end of your life you will have no regrets!

"I’ve failed enough that I am no longer afraid of it."

that quote brought to mind my failure last year in not getting into the book strokes of genius, when i knew 120% that i would get in...i almost hung up my pencils because of it. this year i entered again...i haven't heard whether i made the cut or not, but i am definitely not afraid of not getting in this time around. after all i am just at the beginning of this journey and it's only one persons opinion! i like not sweating possible failures any more!!! :)