Not My Proudest Creative Moments

If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.

And I broke a few eggs this weekend. Come to think of it, I’ve broken a lot of eggs. As I look at my blog over the past year I realize I’ve had some great successes and some pretty awesome failures.

But that’s the thing about failures: without them, we never have successes.

We have to fall down to learn.

My Failed Newsletter

I count it a success that I finally finished sent out my first once-or-twice-a-month newsletter. Learning MailChimp for a non-designer like myself was akin to speaking a foreign language. After stumbling around and finding my way in the dark, I finally sent it out.

But I made a few mistakes…

I was so concerned with the design of it that I completely overlooked three major spelling errors.

Can you spot mistake number one?

Yes, perhaps I do need some ‘reviwers’. Dear dear.

(Aside: if you’d like to get a incredibly creative but sometimes typo filled newsletter, click here to subscribe. It only comes out once or twice a month and you can guffaw at my mistakes.)

My Failed Blog Posts

In my effort to pump out three posts a week for the last eight months, I’ve churned out a number of winners, as well as a number of losers.

For your reading pleasure, here are some of my worst blog post ideas as measured by my WordPress stats:

  • Keep it Simple Einstein – I love the quote on this blog post, yet it never really took off. Perhaps it’s because there’s no text and I didn’t personalize what it meant to me?
  • If We Believe – Interestingly enough, this is another very short post. I rather like it, but it fell flat.
  • Dream Spinning Rumpelstiltskin Style – Granted, I didn’t write this post this year, but I remember writing it and just muscling through it even though I didn’t really form a connection to it. What was I thinking? (I wasn’t.)

Sure, these aren’t the best blog posts, but I don’t count them as complete mistakes or failures because I learned what to do and what not to do.

The Thing About Mistakes

Mistakes are beautiful.

I remember learning to ride a bike. My mom tells the story of looking out the window and seeing me get up on the bike, and then fall again. And getting back up, and falling again. She said she was in pain watching me as my knees became more bruised and bloody with each fall.

But now I can ride a bike.

Now I don’t have to think about how to ride the bike, I just do it.

For corny dramatic effect: play the music on this YouTube video while reading the rest of this post…

Thank You Mistakes

Thank you mistakes.

Thank you for your lessons learned.

Thank you for never giving up on letting us make mistakes, and continuing to make them.

Through all the bruises, the scrapes, the pain, the agonies, the victories and the defeats, you have taught us well.

We shall never forget and will always remember your many kindnesses towards us as creative people as we fall and get back up.

Mistakes: you have made us who we are, and we are most grateful!

[box options]Question: What are some mistakes that have made you a better creative?[/box]

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • I’ve had my fair share of mistakes, that’s for sure. When I started blogging regularly, I was posting 6 times a week, there were a number of posts I didn’t connect with, I was just doing because the experts said I should. Even today there are some posts that felt more like I was pushing butter through a strainer than actually connecting to it. But, it’s those moments that I’ve learned the most about who I am and how I create.

    • Six times a week! That’s pretty amazing.

      The self discoveries you made were probably more valuable than any post you could compose! Good work.

  • Honesty and transparency are incredibly refreshing. Thanks for sharing with us, Andrew!

  • The thing about falling is that we learn to get back up, right? Maybe bruised, bloodied, embarrassed, but standing in the arena of ideas. We went down trying. And that’s what counts: we went down trying. Then we rise, and find that the trying–if not easier–comes more naturally: we’ve got this.

    • Oh you better preach it Chad.

      You bet we’ve got this!

  • Too many mistakes to list here. It would turn out to be more of a guest post than a comment! If I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would be hitting “publish” without having my pro-bono editor in chief (my lovely bride) proofread first.

    As with most people’s mistakes, no one notices as much as you do. I’d bet no one even catches the things you do wrong.

    And personally, I love being subscribed to your site. You take chances. Not all of them will work, but you are the definition of hustle, buddy. Think back to Louis C.K., circa 2009…remember when he tried his luck at podcasting? It was God-awful, but he tried it, failed, and tried something better. No one even thinks about that now. He was learning and refining back then. Look at him now….Chewed Up and Hilarious!

    • I love your Instagram pic of the frogs in the kids pool. That’s a wonderful mistake!

      Thanks for the kind words Scott! You’re really great encourager. Much appreciated. Now, off to start a maybe-great, maybe-terrible podcast 😉

  • JJ Johnston

    Just ran across this post. I know it’s not so “recent”, but the truth is timeless. I love your outlook! Great post.

    • Thanks JJ! I appreciate you dropping by.

      It’s always good to know we’re not alone in our quest to do meaningful work… and fall flat on our faces while doing it sometimes 😉