Not every project is a winner.
That’s the cold, hard truth of creating.
I love to share my successes here — but I’ll be honest, I have more failed attempts than successfully created projects on my hard drive. Same goes for my art projects. I share some of my doodlings, experiments, and finished pieces on my Instagram feed, but I don’t often share my messes.
That’s human nature, of course. It’s also the nature of social media. I think sometimes we forget this, and we look at others’ successes like they’re somehow not unique. Like the success is normal. Like the perfectly polished creation is normal.
What’s normal is that we fail. A lot. We fail as we learn. We fail as we experiment. We fail when life throws us a curveball. Failure is more than the norm, though — it’s an indication that we’re trying.
Failure is the true success if you get back up again.
Here’s something I failed at recently …
I designed and printed my own weekly planner. I was inspired by some task management systems I was reading about in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Getting Things Done (affil.), and I searched forever for a planner that had the right layout. I finally gave up and created my own.
This little project got big, fast. I had dreams of putting this up for sale and it being the next hot planner trend. So I had a test run printed so I could test it out in real life before putting the finishing touches on the design, and figuring out how I wanted to print, sell and distribute it.
I used it for months, and I LOVED it. It was simple and aligned perfectly with my goals and daily routines.
But, like with all planners, I realized there were aspects of it I wasn’t using fully. And the page design locked me into a certain way of using it. So … I switched back to a blank journal that I could design as I go (bullet journal style).
I’m glad I tested this planner before putting it out to market. It’s an awesome layout, but it needs some work. For one thing, it definitely needs to be 5×8″ instead of 6×9″ (the printing company I used didn’t offer 5×8, so I had to compromise). For another, it needs to be saddle-stitched (and few printers/distributors do this). And finally, the interior design needs to be better aligned and I think a different font would be an improvement.
I’ve got enough on my plate right now with writing my next book (paranormal — working title “Thorns”), so I don’t expect to get back to this project any time soon. I wanted to share this, though, to show you that it’s okay to follow a creative prompt and have it not turn out exactly like you planned.
That’s the glory of creativity:
The joy is in the process.