On Failing

It was just over seven months ago that I published my last #100DaysOfCocktails. I had every intention over that span to sit back down at the keyboard and finish documenting the last thirty-six days of the experiment. I was wrapped up in finishing every day before I started to touch on other topics, explore other ideas, or make other statements. This opportunity to discover and create new work just lay here, doing nothing for months.

I eventually discovered a website called “The Daily Page”. You receive a topic to write about every day. If the topic is not something you are interested in, you can ignore it and free write. The posts can be either publicly viewed or just written for your eyes. The thought of other people giving me topics to write about was intriguing. A challenge to be accepted because it would push me as a writer to explore new topics and dig deeper into my well of material. It went swimmingly for a few weeks. Then I found the topics less and less interesting to explore. I did find a few juicy nuggets to ruminate over, but the work was not holding my attention. That fell to the wayside.

As I became more determined to write, and more ideas slid their way into my head, I kept thinking of places I could put all of this wisdom. I do have work for Alcohol Professor and Dayton Most Metro, but those are pretty specific pieces. There is more and more material to mine there all the time, considering I am working on two pieces for AP and two to three for DMM at the moment. This new place needed to be a space for my explorations on topics like design, creativity, and society.  I am sure a few cocktail pieces will sneak in, but I need an empty lab to work out ideas.

Then, one morning, I remembered this exact space. The memory emerged smothered with regret over not finishing all of the blogs for #100DaysOfCocktails. But with a little love and some mental rearranging, this space was perfect for my writing needs.

Day 65, Jour D'Automne, is the next cocktail in the #100DaysOfCocktails series.

The failure of the #100DaysOfCocktails is only partial, and generally in my mind. There are one hundred cocktails and cocktail images on my Instagram page, which was the main thrust of the project. I explored classic cocktails with glee, finding many I wanted to try but did not have room in the project. I discovered many fascinating new cocktails in the modern (2000 and beyond) craft movement. I even received a few emails about proper techniques and well wishes on the project. The only ones that have not seen the light of day are the ones that I created in the final forty days, all of which are my creations. I have all the material and recipes, all I need is some time. They will all find the light over the course of the year. They are worse as road blocks to me doing more work, which is their current position. They are creating wasted space.

Failure is an issue of framing. It would be easy for me to classify the project as a failure if my next post was not day 65 in #100DaysOfCocktails. That ignores the fact that 80% of the project was successful. The 20% that I am struggling with is teaching me a lesson AND will be completed in due time. How is that failing? Why am I ignoring everything I learned because some of it did not turn out the way I planned? By not addressing this until now, I am failed in countless other ways. Like bottling up ideas and ignoring something that can teach me. There would just be more and more days of failure if I did not just sit back down here and start sharing my thoughts again. 

And so begins a new chapter in my blogging for myself. I suggest you take a look around and find the things you have branded as failures and reexamine them. Not what other people consider failures, those don't count. It is your frame, and you are the only one that can change the view. You may be surprised at some of the new things you can see. 

Brian Petro

Smart Guy In A Tie LLC, 2080 Valley Forge Dr. Apt. A, Kettering, OH 45440, United States