Thursday, January 26, 2012

Runway Show

My goal is to deliver a runway show for charity, the catch is that I will be designing and sewing the entire collection. Yes, you read correctly, I will design all the pieces of a collection and sewing them together. How much experience do I have is something you might ask yourself, and the answer is none. I have hemmed my pants, but any experienced seamstress would want to re-hem them. I love Katherine Middleton's fashion style, and I want to create a "Middle Class Princess" collection inspired by her.

I have to start by taking sewing lessons and pattern reading classes. And whatever else comes with it.

The only good news to this is that I come from a generation of beautiful, artistic women. My mother is a seamstress who has created beautiful wedding dresses. My grandma and great grandma made my mother's amazing wedding dress. So, part of the reason to do this is to carry the tradition of making beautiful clothes and not letting it end with me.

I don't have a timeline like Amber does, but I'm going to start by making a skirt from a pattern by the end of February. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Publish a Book

My goal for the year is to publish a book.  OK, maybe not have the published copy in my hand, but a letter of acceptance from a publisher would count.  The problem is, I don't even know what type of book I want to write: children's or adult, fiction or non-fiction.  I don't have professional writing experience.  I have three, out-of-date blogs largely read by my mother.  I read one book last year on how to get a book published: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books.  That title pretty much sums it up.  I am a publishing idiot.

That's it.  That's where I'm starting.

I'm a Software Engineer-turned Project Manager and so, to get the year started I have done what I do best: plan.

Amber's Sure-To-Be-A-Failure Failure Club Schedule
  1.  January 31 – Decide whether to write a children’s or adult book, fiction or non-fiction
  2. February 1 - February 29 – Read two books about publishing books, understand the process, research the book 
  3. March 1 – March 31 – Begin writing, join an author’s club or professional association
  4. April 1 – April 30 – Write, find and meet a local author
  5. May 1 – May 31 – Finish first draft, blog an exert
  6. June 1 – June 30 – Get five people to read my draft, first revision 
  7. July 1 – July 31 – Second revision 
  8. August 1 – August 31 – Research publishers that may accept my book and figure out the submission process, keep revising if necessary 
  9.  September 1 – September 30 – Submit book to publisher! 
  10.  October 1 – October 31 – Work on submission for next publisher, meet another author
  11.  November 1 – November 30 - ? 
  12.  December 1 – December 31 – Contact publisher if haven’t heard back, but most likely they will love the book and I’ll have a contract in my hand!  Right?

Failure Club

This is a Failure Club and this is the story of three women who have each taken on a seemingly impossible goal to be accomplished in 2012.  For me, this is like a New Year's resolution on steroids. 

The idea of a failure club is for each participant to choose an amazing feat; perhaps a life goal or perhaps just something crazy that would be really, really cool to accomplish.  For example, start a band and record an album, or visit all 50 states.  Now, take that goal and condense the time you have to accomplish it down to one year.  Mix together a bunch of motivated friends who all have wacky goals, meet every two weeks to discuss progress and support each other, and there you have it: a failure club.

I was introduced to the Failure Club concept by Adam Mastrelli, an IBM employee who was determined to become a National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence.  He was connected to me by a friend I'd met during my stint in the IBM Corporate Service Corps, a Peace Corps-like experience in which I moved to Tanzania and volunteered for a month with the African Wildlife Foundation. It was an incredible experience, and I've been trying to find something just as worthwhile to do ever since.  I now work at National Geographic and was impressed by Adam's project, partly because it sounded like a great adventure and partly because by October he was already having regular email conversations with Louise Leaky, granddaughter of Louis and Mary Leaky.

I soon discovered that the point of a Failure Club was to fail, but fail spectacularly.  Given how lofty your goals are, you can't help but to go all-out and try to accomplish them in such a short amount of time.  It's not the destination, it's the journey.  Along the way you may learn some very important things about yourself and meet some incredible people.

And so, I gathered a very small group of good friends together to fail.  I think this is going to be an incredible year.