Working For Yourself: Month Eleven (The Big)

Meg Keene Camp Mighty

Before we get into what happened yesterday (and we will get into what happened yesterday), I need to talk about this last month. I’ve mentioned before I dove into this first year of self-employment telling myself that my job was exactly the same as it had always been (writing posts, selling ads), but that this year I’d have more time to do it, and I’d also write a book. It turns out, that was sort of a lie.

But there is also this one other *tiny* thing that I’ve been lying to myself about. I’ve been lying to myself about the fact that real live people (lots of them) read my blog. And as with all lies we tell ourselves, sometimes they save our sanity for a little bit, but eventually they fall apart. Sometimes they fall apart in ways that feel hard to grapple with (like most of this month) and sometimes they fall apart in blindingly wonderful ways (like yesterday).

At every step of the blog’s growth, I’ve had some serious growing pains. It turns out that I’m a kind of private person (which is perpetually interesting as a blogger), so I’ve worked to be careful about what parts of myself I put out for public comment. I want to talk, endlessly, about ideas—but I don’t want to talk about or justify, say, how I decorate my home, the day to day of my family life, or deeply personal decisions. So I’ve walked a line with what I share here. Long time readers will remember that (mostly due to my corporate job) I didn’t show a picture of my face for the first year and a half (big reveal here, with a gun). We didn’t share a ton of wedding photos with the internet, and most of the ones I picked to share didn’t even have my face in them (that was not a conscious choice). And over much of my blogging career I’ve posted few enough pictures of me that I spent a year interacting with a long time reader twice a week without him figuring out who I was.

So this year, as the blog has grown, I’ve simply pretended that it’s just this little project I work on from my kitchen table, la-la-la. And this month, that sort of fell apart on me, in all sorts of ways.

It started a few minutes before Amber took this picture of me at Camp Mighty. When I went to Mighty Summit a year ago, I felt like I was in the perfect position. I’d made enough professional headway to get invited, but no one knew who I was (which meant zero expectations). This year, at Camp Mighty, I pretended that it was going to be exactly the same way. It wasn’t. When I walked into the first party, four or five people I didn’t know said hi to me. Still operating in my little self-delusion bubble, I thought, “Hum. I wonder how they know who I am?” (Oh, internet, apparently you go… everywhere?) Then two seconds before this picture was taken, some lovely ladies stopped me and said, “You’re Meg.” And you guys, I’m an idiot. I totally froze. I said, “Yes.” And then they said, “You’re Meg!” again. And I looked super baffled and said, “I totally am….” and then I ran off to take these pictures. That’s grace, kids. (Slams head into the desk.)

And the thing is, I know why I do what I do. It’s about the work, and about getting to write, and about sharing ideas with a whole bunch of smart people, and about getting to run a creative business. And I want it to be about the work, not about me. But this month I realized that’s not going to be the case, all of the time. So negotiating that has been tricky for me. Finding the real goodness in a bigger platform has been hard at some moments this month, but yesterday that goodness became breathtakingly clear.

Holy crap yesterday. Yesterday, when you guys single handedly pushed up The APW Book to #29 on Amazon US, and #77 on Amazon Canada. Yesterday, which was the most awe inspiring day of my professional life. Yesterday, when I got a feeling for what the APW community actually is, and for what it can be. Yesterday. I am so grateful. And overwhelmed. And kind of hung over. And grateful. And in awe.

Clearly, I have not wrapped words around all of this yet. So I thought I’d wrap words around what I learned, instead. Yesterday taught me a variation of the lesson I’ve learned over and over again all year, and the whole time I was trying to sell the book: You can’t succeed without being willing to fail with full force. You can’t figure out how far you can go, until you push yourself so far that you risk completely falling on your face. And seriously? This never stops sucking, don’t kid yourself.

When I set up The Great APW Book Buy (in the middle of the holiday season, when the vast majority of books are sold for the year, which even my marketing team told me was a dubious idea) I thought it would be fun. I thought it was the smartest way I knew to sell the book. (And as an author, book sales are vitally important. Not because of the money it makes you, but because it determines your future book writing fate.) So, being sometimes overly fearless, I figured, “Let’s just do it.”

My self preservation instinct kicked in a week or two ago when I realized I had set up a profoundly public way to nose-dive into the concrete. If book sales were a little slow? No one would ever know publicly. Not that embarrassing! If APW-ers didn’t buy (or simply couldn’t buy enough) books to make the APW book buy a success… it was going to be profoundly f*cking clear. Embarrassing. By the night before the book buy (even as you guys left me comments so nice that they made me sob) I was in a panic. What had I done? How bad could this be? So yesterday morning, when David got out of bed to check the stats, and didn’t say anything for fifteen minutes… I started hyperventilating. Then he came back to say, “Not to worry, the book was number 6,000 on Amazon.” I pondered not getting out of bed at all. This seemed possibly very, very, very mortifying.

And then it started to play out. I ate breakfast because David made me. The book jumped to 659. Things seemed much better. I went to the gym. It jumped to 96, and the bestseller list, then to 64. Holy shit. I took a shower. It jumped to 34. Oh my god. I ate lunch. It jumped to 29. It stayed at 29. It stayed at 29. That’s when what happened started to hit me. And today it’s still hovering on the bestseller list. It was crazy, and amazing, to watch the APW community throw its full weight behind the book and make something that should have been impossible happen. It felt like a blessing just to see, let alone to be at the focus. It was staggering, being in the center of that whirlwind.

And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t taken that huge risk. (Though, arguably, I could have stayed in bed till the outlook looked brighter.)

So thank you guys. And mostly, I really, really hope that it pushes you to take your own risks, to remember that mortal terror and rejection are what happen before you push yourself as hard as you can, and to remember that it’s never easy. I hope it inspires you to think about the way we spend our money to support what we believe in, the power of community, and the force of a whole lot of individuals working together. Zan said on Twitter yesterday, ” The APW Book Buy sort of feels like that scene in Finding Nemo where all the fish pull together and ‘SWIM DOWN!’ Except we’re up!” And that’s totally what it felt like. And it was pretty amazing to behold.

More on everything book related coming soon. There will be book tour news along with the book, actually, you know… coming out officially in January. It’s pretty crazy that this was just the beginning. I better rest up, because here we go.

Photo of me at Camp Mighty by Amber Marlow Photography, aka, Amber of The Amber Show

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  • Tanya

    And you deserve every bit of it. Congratulations!

  • Awesome awesome awesome. And inspiring. I’ve said it a bunch already but congrats to you and the APW team – so well deserved.

  • Meg, you said, “…you guys single handedly pushed up The APW Book to #29 on Amazon US, and #77 on Amazon Canada.” But many hands make light work. It was easy for all of us to do this, to say thank you to you and the rest of the APW staff for all the hard work you do here. Revel. You did it :)

  • Emily

    You. Are. Awesome!!

    Thank you for encouraging the rest of us to go for it in the process.

  • kc

    First, you are owning it in that photo.

    Second, it felt so great to watch the book make it’s climb up the charts yesterday. You’ve done an amazing job building this community and I am happy beyond words to be a part of it.

    And lastly, this: “And mostly, I really, really hope that it pushes you to take your own risks, and to remember that mortal terror and rejection are what happen before you push yourself as hard as you can, and that it’s never easy. ” I’m still trying to learn it, but you talking about it, here, makes me braver. So thank you.

  • Meg, you’re a total badass and an inspiration. Thank you so, so much for sharing your professional journey with us. I look forward to these posts every month.

  • I’m glad you took that risk, because it was totally worth it!

    And also, that photo… hello, bombshell! :)

  • Hooray for taking risks and putting it out there!

  • “I’ve been lying to myself about the fact that real live people (lots of them) read my blog.”

    Aw, I’ve never been so excited to be a Real Live Person.

  • I am so so so happy for you, and so excited, and glad in a tiny but huge way to be part of this community. Now celebrate, and keep dreaming, and keep changing the world. You are an inspiration to all of us and you sure make push harder, let it all out, amidst the rejection and the terror.
    Go, Meg.

  • Jen W

    I love Zan’s comparison to the “Swim Down” moment in Finding Nemo– feels like the prefect description of what was accomplished!

  • First, congratulations again on all your hard work and an amazing day yesterday!

    Second, those shoes are killer! Love.

    • meg

      Ha. I bought them with early book money.

  • “You can’t figure out how far you can go, until you push yourself so far that you risk completely falling on your face.”

    Meg, you are the words that I say to all of my smart and strong girlfriends but cannot believe about myself. Like you and Caitlyn, I kind of, a little bit, want to totally change the world.

    Thanks for being brave and sane while kicking ass.

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    Congrats Meg. You rock.

    I’m mentally updating something I say often – “You have to read this thing my favorite blogger, Meg, wrote…” to “You have to read this thing bestselling author, Meg Keene, wrote…”

    Much like when my husband got his PhD and I started introducing him as “Dr. Husband” against his will, your name is now “Bestselling author Meg Keene”. It has a nice ring to it, as if it was always meant to be :)

  • Gigi

    “And I want it to be about the work, not about me”

    But, Meg, everything we do is about ‘us’. We reveal ourselves in the work we choose, the relationships we make, the color we paint our houses. You could no more stay anonymous doing this blog than you could stop breathing.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’ve done a brilliant job of walking this line. Too many blogs end up being TMI about the author. You do a great job of keeping the spotlight on your readers and spicing things up with just the right amount of you. I was expecially proud of you the other day when you made the comment about not discussing your religious conversion except in a faith based situation. That is one of the reasons that I keep reading – discussion about ideas, not about you, you, you.

    And, you organize a heck of a book buy!! Wow…

    • meg

      Oh, it’s not about being anonymous (I majored in theatre, at a very serious school, I never had dreams of anonymity!) It’s about keeping the focus on the work, not so much on me. The work just comes through me, after all, and takes a piece of me with it… but I’m not so crazy as to think that the work is me (see Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on creativity, for a nuanced discussion of this issue).

      Some creatives are pretty good about keeping the focus on the work, and to make sure that their private lives are not the focus. Some are not. I’d rather be the former than the latter.

  • Congratulations! And in other news…I am always fascinated by how bloggers manage privacy and figure out how much to make public. As a private person who tends to overshare once I get a-writin’, I am a nervous new blogger. I’m having ridiculous thoughts like, “If at some point someone knows this is my writing, then they will know that all these thoughts and opinions are MINE.” Um, yeah. See? A little crazy. (And congratulations again!)

    • meg

      Ah. Best way to handle it is to go into it knowing that sooner or later EVERYONE will know it’s you, including your grandmother, and share accordingly. I still write personally. But if it’s something I want to keep private (and there are lots of those things) they don’t go on the site. Never have.

  • Meg, I am so glad you did the book buy. Because, honestly, I only bought the book because of the buy (well, not only, but it was the big push I needed). I love APW and everything you’ve done to me, and I thought “well, here’s the moment to show Meg what APW means.” Yesterday was awesome, and it felt like an NPR pledge drive that was extra personal.

    I also think that there were likely plenty of people out there (and will continue to be) who will buy the book because it’s high on the list of wedding books. And that, my friend, is how we do a sea change in the wedding industry. Word of mouth will help, sharing your blog link is awesome . . . but spreading APW beyond the APW crowd? It’s like watching dominoes fall, and I can’t wait to see it.

    • Kat

      I bought the book because of the book buy too. Being married already I figured I could wait until it eventually filtered down to being released in little old NZ. But then I watched the start of the book buy and realised I also wanted to say thank you to Meg and APW for the years I’ve been reading (and also that shipping wasn’t too horribly expensive).

      Now I’m looking forward to sharing it with the next friend who gets engaged :) Bring on the falling dominoes.

  • Sara Oberg

    Oh Meg. It was so exciting to see the power of the community you created show its full support for you yesterday. I was actually one of the girls who stopped you at Camp Mighty before that photo was taken. I just want you to know I completely understand the disarming effect of having strangers approach you all fanlike. I’ve had the bad habit of being a lurker of blogs for a long time, and I realized at Camp Mighty that in order to really be involved in these micro communities of the internet I need to start engaging. So to start I’m becoming a better commenter. Hopefully, in the future when I meet a blogger I admire in person they will already know I think they’re amazing beforehand. Congrats again!

    • meg

      Excellent plan :) Hurrah!

  • Robyn

    I have been talking non stop about this blog and this book buy. I am only in the first 3 months of planning and I am so thankful I found this blog. Even more than that, I am so thankful you came out with this book right in time for me to buy it and learn so much. I can’t wait to read every word (5 times). The other wedding blogs just make me want to cry (in a bad way). You all just make me feel better. I also have never written a comment on any blog ever, so I think that must mean something! Congrats on the success!!!

  • maura

    dude. that picture is so hot.

    ps. congrats on an awesome day! it was really inspiring to watch and be a part of.

  • So confession, I was at Camp Mighty, and I didn’t say hi. I am not a regular commenter, so we don’t know each other even as internet acquaintances. As a private person myself, I didn’t want to interrupt your time with your friends.
    You have fans – I’m a fan. I want you to succeed, we all want you to succeed. You are making a difference in the world in a positive way. I want to support that. I bought two books yesterday and I am not getting married. All my friends are already married, so I don’t know who I am going to give the extra book to, but I will find someone (never fear). I am totally not your target audience, but I can’t wait to read my copy.

    • AmErika

      We have one other person who has requested a book if you’d like to participate in the book giveaway! Email me

      And how does one get to go to Camp Mighty?

      • meg

        One buys a ticket right when they go on sale, before they sell out. They are not even very expensive tickets, honestly.

        • AmErika

          Thanks Meg! And one just watches Maggie’s blog for that? Sorry I just have NO idea about this.

  • mimi

    So proud of you, Meg, and of all of us for making this happen! I can’t wait to watch the continued success. . . and maybe contribute with a few more copies of my own. We can change the world!

  • carrie

    When you wrote that you like to talk about ideas not about minutiae, I realized that’s exactly how you write. And I think it’s party of why this blog is so strong, it’s not always about ME, it’s about US and the bigger picture. I really love being a part of that community. However, don’t forget for a minute that you built it. Don’t forget that you hauled up the ladder to your own star. You have much to be proud of individually, and the community that you cultivated here are proud of you right back.

    • meg

      Ha! Trust me, I don’t ;)

    • carrie

      And b/c it’s driving me f*cking nuts, my last sentence should be “…IS proud of you.” I started with “we” then went back and change it, but the grammar wasn’t so lucky. Carry on…;-)

  • “you can’t succeed without being willing to fail with full force. You can’t figure out how far you can go, until you push yourself so far that you risk completely falling on your face. And seriously? This never stops sucking, don’t kid yourself.”

    That right there is what what I am currently learning. And possibly why yesterday resonated so ridiculously deeply with me. Anyway, surprisingly hard lesson, that. Wonderful to have you there lighting the way with such grace, though.

    Also, that photograph. Lady, our ‘real space’ lives really need to converge.

  • Legs! That is all.

    He’ll, who am I kidding. That is not all. This is an incredible time in your life. Breathe it in.

  • AmErika

    If I ever see you on the streets of SF I’m totally saying…”You’re Meg! THE MEG! THE APW MEG?!?”
    Whats awesome about APW is all of it! Every little morsel of APW started with you! And while yes, you started it, its been wonderful to watch over the past 2 years (for me at least) what has happened. I struggle with the internet at times because I just want to meet, in person, all of these awesome people. And usually, I can’t. So I hope that we can put together some book toasting parties or more reasons for APW meetups.
    Thank you for creating this place for all of us. All y’all rock!

    • meg

      There is going to be a SF party in January! More soon.

  • Meg, I am always inspired by you and touched by your overflowing enthusiasm for other people’s dreams. So many of your recent posts have made me teary, because it’s like you are gathering up courage and success by the fistful and holding them out to me, to us. All we have to do is take it. And I would come here, and dream my little dreams, and for however long I stayed on this site, they seemed real and tangible and ACCESSIBLE. Like I could actually HAVE them. And so for those and many other reasons, I was so happy to participate in the APW book buy yesterday.

    But to come here today, and read this post, oh man. “teary” doesn’t begin to describe it. Because of this:

    “And mostly, I really, really hope that it pushes you to take your own risks, and to remember that mortal terror and rejection are what happen before you push yourself as hard as you can, and that it’s never easy.”

    Because I never, ever seem to get beyond the “mortal terror” part. I never seem to give it that final push that takes me through the terror and into the beyond. I don’t even know what could be out there. I don’t know what it will look like or feel like because I haven’t ever done it. I stop just short. Every. Time. I tell myself that the terror is a safety net. A lullabye. A friend

    I let it hold me back, when what I need to do is push through it and slay those motherfucking dreams. And even if I don’t–even if I move past the terror and into the beyond and I fail. Well, at least I’ll finally know what it looks like out there.

    Thank you.

    • meg

      Failing is not so hard to do. The mortal terror is hard, the failing isn’t anywhere near as hard. You just fall hard, it hurts, and then you pick yourself up and move on. Anyone who’s at all successful has to do it A LOT. I’ve already gone through two careers (including my dream career) and hated them, and that’s how I got here.

      • MWK

        Yikes. These posts are good for me (even if I sorta hate reading them (in a good way! I mean that nice!) because they make me know that I can’ t just keep hiding out and doing what I’m doing because it is making me unhappy. I’m right at that spot where I’ve got a good year in what I thought was my dream career…and I am miserable. So I’m at the “what the EFF do I do now?” spot, which is really awful (as you’ve said). All of your posts have been pushing me towards realizing that I don’t have to stay where I am – no matter how hard I worked to get here – if it isn’t making me happy. That I just need to spend some time figuring out what I want next and then working for it. There was definitely a time when I was avoiding this kind of message, and I still find myself doing it since it is so scary and annoying, but it’s good to have your reminders. Maybe sorta a little bit like you yelling at me, but through the interwebs.

      • kyley

        Thanks for the perfect timing on this post and this comment. I’m in the middle of writing PhD applications and graduate seminar papers, which is to say mortal terror is my whole world at the moment. It turns out I’m actually desperately afraid of writing, and I found myself having a panic attack this afternoon. All of this is to say, thank you. I really needed some honest words about fear, and pushing through it.

    • And even if you fail, it doesn’t mean it’s over. I just went through a major career transition (admin no more!) and it took 8 months of active hard work after years of paying my dues, and at least 7 major set backs, including a tentative job offer that was revoked when my mentor moved back to America. And it sucked and I cried, and then I went back at it, and I kept pushing and failing and pushing and failing and pushing until I walked in to the office the day after my 30th birthday and my boss handed me a letter announcing my promotion, effective the next day.

      The whole thing was terrifying and hard and exhausting and absolutely fucking worth it. I hope you too can learn to push through the terror, because you know what? You can’t really lose. Sure, you can fail, but it’s unlikely that you’ll lose it all. (Sure, I lost a job and a mentor, but damn if having one for several months wasn’t inspirational and a great learning experience and helped me to believe that yes, I am smart enough to move into the engineering world.)

      • Karen

        Great job! I commend you for sticking with it even when it might have seemed easier to give up. It’s all about learning to take the risk.

  • I am so very proud to be a part of this awesome thing you have created, it gives me a sense of peace and a sense of strength that was kind of lacking before, at least on the internet. You have done a wonderful job of turning just a blog about weddings into community, full of support, encouragement, and intelligent opinions. Seeing you fight so hard to achieve what you want is an inspiration, so yes, sometimes it has to be about you.

    Also, being in the midst of wedding planning, and pretty much hating it to the point that I avoid it, I can not wait for my book to get here!

  • Jade

    I bought the book and can’t wait to read it! We have been putting off wedding planning until we know where I’m going to be for Grad school so it will arrive at the perfect time. :)

    Meg, are there by any chance plans to visit small liberal arts colleges that have been Women’s colleges for over a 100 years in the SF bay area and talk about what makes strong women and the process of finding “what you want to do with your life” on your book tour? If so I can think of one that may well enjoy having you visit… particularly with the rather extensive “over 23” community on campus….

    • meg

      Mills? (Half my readers are from Mills, I think.) Anyway, I’d totally love to, it’s just that no one has ever asked!

      • Jade


        Mills women are great! I just finished my undergraduate thesis and have a little bit of breathing room so I’d love to figure out how to be able to get you to talk at Mills…

        Perhaps you can email me and I can talk to people at Mills? Or set you up with them?

        • meg

          You email me, lady with what you need, and we’ll make it happen. I mean, other then when I’m out of town for the book tour, I’m around, I live in the area and I ADORE speaking, particularly to women, so it’s pretty much just an issue of picking a day and a topic, and I’ll show up (with books, even!).

          • Jade

            Through the web form thing?

          • meg

            Yup! It will come right to me.

          • If you do a talk at Mills, I will fly down to my alma mater to sit in. I haven’t been back since I graduated in 2007 and I can’t think of a better reason to visit. As I recall the readings at Mills packed the house!
            Although, I’d probably be just as shy as I am the rest of the time. Either that or ultra-gushy because I too am one of your biggest fans, Meg. I’ve always wanted a hero and a mentor but could never really figure out what that meant for me. When you write posts like this one, I too get all teary because you aren’t afraid to talk about the fear and the failure. I would go so far as to say that I’m so afraid of failure that I don’t even try to pin down what I want to fail at. No matter what you don’t share, it’s so inspiring to read your sort of honesty.
            Thank you, Meg!

          • meg

            You BETTER say hi Sera, shit!

          • And what I apparently forgot to add was that YOU are my hero Meg!
            And yes, I promise to say hi, if you promise to post when you will be speaking at Mills. :)

      • Anne

        Meg, I’m also in the Bay Area and would love to hear you speak about your entrepreneurial experiences!

      • Does this mean you’d maaaaybe even come to Scripps, too? So close to home! Family connection! Women! Etc! It’s perfect!

  • It was fun to read updates on (and contribute to) the Book Buy. I’m happy it was successful! Somehow I figured it was going to be pretty amazing as soon as you mentioned it, and I hadn’t even considered that it might mean falling on your face publicly until you wrote this: “mortal terror and rejection are what happen before you push yourself as hard as you can, and that it’s never easy.”

    I try to think about the rosy side of success, and now you’ve got me feeling Fozzie-like. But you’re right, you can’t really succeed without there being a possibility of failure. Bravery, huh. Only way to do it.

  • “…you can’t succeed without being willing to fail with full force. You can’t figure out how far you can go, until you push yourself so far that you risk completely falling on your face.”

    I am glad you shared that it was scary and you weren’t sure how it would all turn out. From the outside, I was confident that people would rally and buy the book and that it would succeed, but it is good to know that that step felt uncertain and risky from the inside.

    In my experience, I generally feel that the I-feel-like-I-might-throw-up feeling before taking a risk to do something I believe in is a sign that it is worth it. I also know that the place where you take the jump and feel the terror can be a creative and amazing place. This again reminds me that I have been way too comfortable for a good while. But now I am a finishing up a long-term theatre project that feels risky and BIG and I am quite uncertain of the outcome, but now I have a firm deadline to meet and am plowing ahead to the finish line, fear and all. Cause, you know, it’s worth failing at. The real failure would be to not do something that means so much to me, or to take the less-scary path and compromise the dream with a toned-down version that feels “safe.”

    And this cracked totally me up:
    “Not to worry, the book was number 6,000 on Amazon.”

    Congrats again!

  • Amy

    Favourite post ever! I purchased a book yesterday and am so happy to be a part of everything you have created here. I love when people I respect find success doing the things they love and I’m super proud of you, which is hilarious because I don’t know you! Well kind of, you are like totally famous now.

    Congrats on winning.

  • April

    You are FIERCE! Both in the photos and in words. And no doubt, real life.

    Way to go, lady. WAY. TO. GO! Love ya! *muah*

  • Shira

    I think an apt summary of my feelings at the moment is: Go Meg!!!
    And btw, these posts are my very favorite kind. So thank you :)

  • Savychacha

    I am so happy to be a part of this community, even if only in a mostly lurking capacity. I found this web site when I was helping my sister in law plan her and my brothers wedding a year and a half ago. Since then, I have read every single day, every single post. When I got married in October I felt so prepared, mentally, for whatever situations may arise because I had read and shared in so many stories from so many other wonderful ladies and couples. The reclaiming wife, wedding graduates, and Ask Team Practical, and all the other posts filled me with a sense of calm, and strength really, to know that I did not have to stretch myself to the thinnest point to have the wedding I wanted.

    So thank you Meg, and Team Practical! for making the experience somethng I could enjoy and love, rather than something I wish I could have done over.

    My best friend is getting married this year, and yesterday I sent her a text message that said: “Since you’re the next to get married, I’m buying you a fabulous book for Christmas that will undoubtedly help keep you sane. I promise that it will be helpful on so many levels.” and then I bought a copy of your book. And I smiled to myself. Because it all felt so big, and wonderful, and right.

  • Dude. Your legs are sick in this photo.

    I’m so stinking proud of you, and proud to know you.

  • KA

    “You’re Meg!”

    Hahahaha, we so totally had that moment at Yay NY, except I think it was you that said “I’m Meg!” and I said, “Yes, you are,” and promptly wanted to melt into the floor.

    Even as someone no one knows, I just get weird in general when meeting internet acquaintances, because it’s like “Hey, I’ve never seen you before but we just talked five hours ago about what we ate for lunch,” or “We’ve exchanged really deep emails about my dying grandma [this is not a real example] but this is the first time I’m seeing your face or realizing you’re that height/size and I’m having trouble processing it.” It’s just an awkward occurrence that hopefully gets easier each time one goes through it.

    Oh yeah, and the big stuff. It’s so BIG. I am continually honored to be able to witness and support you and this community’s journey towards TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Er, I mean, changing the face of the WIC. Whatever our mission is, I’m for it.

    • meg

      Ha! Remember everyone, when I say, “Hi, I’m Meg,” (which I do, because I’m a normal person), you’re supposed to say, “Hi, I’m KA!” when you say, “Yes you are,” then I just stand there looking at you, because you haven’t given me any new information to process. I totally already know who I am, fact. Learn from KA, my friends!! Have our meeting go smoothly! (Meeting KA turned out to be great, so I’m allowed to tease her. ;)


  • Heather

    I’m coming out of lurker status to say that your photo f*cking rocks. Nice work Meg!

  • THAT. is a sexy picture.

  • Laura

    I have really loved these “Working for Yourself” posts, because it’s a path I hope to someday follow myself. And, although it’s scary to read, I appreciate the reminder that risk is very, very necessary to that path. It’s easy just to say, “No, that’s too scary/financially insecure/OMG SO STUPID.” But without the risk…well, you know. No reward.

    ” Zan said on Twitter yesterday, ” The APW Book Buy sort of feels like that scene in Finding Nemo where all the fish pull together and ‘SWIM DOWN!’ Except we’re up!”
    This is the best analogy ever. Awesome. MAJOR congratulations on yesterday–can’t wait to get my copy of the book!!

    • meg

      Though, interestingly, I would not tell you that financial risk is necessary to be a small business owner. I read a fascinating article based on a sturdy, THAT I CAN NO LONG TRACK DOWN DAMN IT, about how the most successful business owners were actually very financially risk adverse. I am, in fact, perhaps the most financially risk adverse person you’ve ever met, and I’ve never taken what felt like a financial risk on my business (which is different from investing money in it. I have invested money in it, but it was money I made from it…)

      I mean, look, everything is a risk. And where I worked before, I risked being laid off at many time for any reason, no matter what my job performance was. Now, I have a lot more control of my finances. But I did my homework and then some… so it never felt risky. So. Yes. That’s fodder for a whole article, but I wanted to throw that out there. Never feel like building a business means being forced to make financial decisions that feel wrong to you (same as with wedding planning).

      • cat

        Can you please write that article one day? (she says as someone who is probably about to quit her ‘as secure as it gets’ job to finally take the final plunge in changing almost my entire life, and also happens to be so risk adverse I almost never did it).

        • Laura

          I second that request ;)

          That’s sound advice–and trust, I am NOT ready to jump wily-nily into some kind of financial catastrophe. Right now I’m slogging through the 9-5 job that I’m not crazy about in order to stash up savings–specifically, at least 3 months worth of savings. When I AM ready to take the plunge into working for myself…there’s damn sure gonna be a safety net ;)

          What makes it easier is knowing my fiance is beyond me 100%. When I’m ready to take the plunge, he’s ready, too. Which is awesome, because clearly, this kind of decision doesn’t affect just me….

          Again—these “Working for Yourself” posts have been awesome. Keep ’em up, please!

          • Abby J. (formerly C.)

            Ah yes, I third this as a potential topic for Working For Yourself Month 12. :)

            PS, the APW kindle edition is going to be delivered to my kindle the day I fly back from my honeymoon. Yay for airplane reading!

      • MWK

        Oh, thank you! Apparently I’m going to tag-team on a lot of the comments, here, sorry. One reason I’m sticking with the job I don’t love is that it is sorta necessary financially, at least for now. I sometimes beat myself up for staying in the job because I need it – like I should be throwing caution to the wind and pursuing my dream RIGHT THIS MINUTE regardless of the finances. On good days I remind myself that I can continue to do the financially responsible thing for the moment all while working on the dream on the sidelines until it becomes the right time to switch things up and leave the money-maker I don’t like for the hopeful money-maker that i do like. I have to remind myself that babysteps build dreams, too, it’s just not always portrayed that way. And, I mostly have to remind myself that being cautious about my finances doesn’t make me a dream-crushing drone; that valuing financial stability doesn’t make me greedy or materialistic, it just makes me…cautious about money.

  • Class of 1980

    I saw the guy behind Twitter on TV a few days ago. He said that when people look at a successful business, they just assume it’s always been that way – “Perfect”. But he said they are wrong. He said he’s literally made hundreds of mistakes along the way to get where he is.

    I say, if you aren’t making mistakes or taking risks, you’ll never know what could have been.

    • Class of 1980

      Also … regarding that picture at the top … GO ON with your bad self!

    • meg

      So true. Ev is a smart cookie… I’ve never met him, though I know lots of people who know him, and I first heard the term “Fail Forward” as an Ev quote. That is some GOOD SHIT too.

  • Frances

    The second last paragraph made me teary! We’re so proud of you Meg!!
    I discovered your blog three years ago and APW fast became my favourite and eventually the only wedding blog i read in the run up to my wedding.
    I still have posts printed out from your previous lemon yellow APW blog, which i lovingly treasure :) I’m so excited that you’ve published a book -now I don’t have to photocopy all my favourite APW posts, highlight and bookmark my favourite bits, separate them into chapters and and bind them into books made with love for my most special engaged friends!!! seriously! i’ve made two so far :)

    I CAN’T WAIT to read your labour of love; full of good ideas, grounding advice and sincerity and sass! And i love the way you write. I live in South Africa and so badly wanted to be part of the the ‘finding nemo’ team yesterday but the shipping cost to africa was unfortunately more than the book and having been retrenched in august and living on a shoestring budget, i was trying soo hard to be sensible. and then you just kept climbing and climbing up the book rankings!! I was so overjoyed for you.

    You really deserve it, and it’s about time for us all to buoy YOU up with love!
    Meg I pinky swear that I’ll get my local bookstore to order some copies and that i’ll buy copies for all my engaged friends in the years to come, because it’s the least I can do to thank you for all the moral support you’ve so freely and generously given over the years, and most importantly, because what you have to share is *so profoundly helpful*

    A big congratulations to you! and I love seeing the snippets of your happy face that you do share with us xxxx

    • meg

      OH MY GOD. You have to send me a copy of your makeshift APW books. I’ll pay shipping, hell!

      • Frances

        With pleasure! *shy smile*

  • Becky2

    The biggest congratulations to you! We’ve watched you earn this every step of the way. I’ve got to say that I love the juxtaposition of the photo of you lovingly cradling your book yesterday and your boundless joy today. If you put them next to each other as a before and after it would be striking. Way to live your dreams and inspire the rest of us to do the same. Now I’m off to finish my thesis with all this good juju in the air.

  • I have been following your blog for some time now but I don’t think I have made a comment before… I just wanted to say that your blog and this post in particular have been so SO incredibly inspiring and motivating for me that I cannot possible thank you enough for all that you have done and all that you do. You are an inspiration and I cannot wait till my copy of your book finally arrives in my mailbox. Keep doing what you do and thank you so very very much.

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  • Anne

    I want to chime in as well. Congratulations on your successes and thank you for letting us glimpse into your world.

    It had never occurred to me that YOU might be terrified about the book launch. You are so fierce. And confident. It’s a wonderful reminder that all of us have our struggles and success is almost always hard won.

    BTW, I feel like there’s this cultural narrative about women not being supportive of other women. I think the APW Book Buy shows what women can accomplish when we band together.

    • meg

      Dude. I am a SERIOUSLY ANXIOUS PERSON. And also, kind of a pessimist (realist? whatever). I’m anxious most of the time. Don’t kid yourself.

      And yup, I’ve seen so much of women supporting other women on the blog (which makes sense I guess, since that’s my real life worldview too…)

  • As someone who is prepping (logistically and emotionally) to make a big leap out of full-time job security and into a patch-work, artistically-centered existence, I love reading these monthly updates. Thanks for sharing how hard it is to do what you love – so many blogs seem to gloss over all the actual hours of manpower involved when it comes to starting something completely new, building it from the ground up, and then finally sending it over the side of the nest to see if it will fly (OK, I’ll stop with the terrible metaphors already). I’m so happy to have been sent this blog by my sister the week I got engaged (she’s 22 and in college, so she was just reading it for some good ol’ feminism). It’s really been a huge source of inspiration as I move closer to the date – and encourages me to THINK about why I am and am not including things in my wedding, why I want to spend money on my dress but none on flowers, and generally reflect more on the tradition and relationship itself than I would have had I been swept up in a consumerist frenzy from moment 1.

    Keep it up, Meg and Team Practical!

    • Jovi

      Good luck with your leap, Caitlin!

  • Kate K

    Oh this made me cry like a baby! I’m so proud of your bravery and awesomeness and I’m glad I could help the book along its way. (Interestingly enough, that scene in Finding Nemo makes me cry like a baby too. Powerful stuff.)

    Also, I have to tell you that I just sent your lovely words along to a friend of mine who is contemplating a brave and very scary decision. I told the blog address and said “Yes, it’s a wedding blog but it’s so much more than that.”

    Thanks for all you do Meg!

  • So happy, so proud, so excited to read my copy, so wondering how to get those thighs.

    • meg

      Um.. get an pain condition and an anxiety condition that sends you straight to the gazelles at the gym every day, and does not let you eat wheat. DONE! It’s like magic ;)

      • It’s so crazy it just might work.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Congratulations, Meg! The journey continues and will only get better. Very, very proud :-)

  • Thank you so much for this brave and honest post.

    And regarding the book tour: Please come to Boston! Specifically the wonderful independent bookstore Porter Square Books in Cambridge! They do readings multiple times a week, so they are set up for you, and you have a loyal and devoted fan base here, as all the meetup folks can attest!

  • Tamara Van Horn

    Just left the Boulder Bookstore. Shopping for a MIL gift, and here’s my aside with the woman who helped me find “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (a must read!)

    Me: So, I need to know how to get a book stocked here.
    Woman Working at the Store (WWS): What book?
    Me: Well, there’s this amazing blog, and the woman who runs ut released abook yesterday… it’s called A Practical Wed…
    WWS (jumping in): I bought two yesterday! One for my sister, and now all the people I know are getting married!
    Me: Well, no offense to brick and mortar, but there was a push to get it on Amazon’s bestseller list…
    WWS: I heard! And it did!
    Me: Yes! 29!
    WWS: Yeah, my sister has been reading that blog, and it’s saved her LIFE, and now I’m buying the book for everyone I know, because they;re all getting married.
    Me: *Ooga-chucka, ooga-chucka, one of US, one of US!*
    There wa smore, but the gist is, we high fived, and I ordered four copies for when they get it in stock. Hells. Yeah.

    • meg


    • Tamara Van Horn

      Although in my excitement, I seem to be a very.bad. speller.

  • Jen

    I generally don’t comment on blogs because I feel like … it is THEIR community and I am invading. How ridiculous is that?! I have been reading APW since… gosh early 2009 when I got engaged. Way back when it was the old format and no one knew what you looked like :) It was yesterday when I was supposed to be studying for a law final that I realized I was definitely part of the community. In between memorizing flashcards I kept refreshing this page and amazon! When you got to 34 I want to tell people – Meg got to 34!! But, of course I couldn’t so I had to tweet you.

    Anyway, I am so proud to be part of this community of wonderful women and so so happy for you.

    Also. If I saw you, I definitely would feel like I had seen a celebrity. And ask for your autograph. Too bad I live in Southern California.

    • meg


      Too bad our families are in Southern California and we’re from Southern California and we’re there all the time ;)

    • Kellyh

      Had to chime in. I’m an infrequent commenter but dedicated reader (also since 2009). I used to not feel a part of the community because I am (still) in pre-engaged limbo land but posts like these (and all those extremely-helpful-for-my-sanity posts aimed at the pre-engaged) have pretty much won me over. That and the fact that when I found out a few weeks ago that I might be moving to San Francisco this spring, I thought “hey! I might run into Meg!”.

      So, there you go Meg, you’re a community maker and I think that is one of the most important things ever. I work internationally in conflict-affected settings and sometimes it’s hard to see beyond all the communities that are falling apart and recognize that there are also so many that are newly forming and getting stronger.

  • Meg,
    As someone who has read this blog from the beginning, (and has also been shy about posting wedding pics) I just want to say how very proud I am of you. I can’t wait to read the new book and it will be my go-to gift for all my newly engaged friends. Thanks for providing a refuge from the crazy during the year I spent planning my wedding. (2009-2010).
    Love, Giovanna

  • Noemi

    Dear Meg,

    I feel so good to be a part of Team Practical, and I am so grateful for all of your insights, your writings, and above all, your beautiful idea to begin this blog! It has grown so much over time, and it brought me a great sense of joy to be able to support you by ordering my own copy of your book. I am already married, but I can’t wait to share this book with my friends and family who may be starting their own planning journeys (Rollercoasters?) soon. Thank you for bringing sanity to this corner of the wedding/marriage-blog world. You are an inspiring person.

  • This is so damn wonderful and awesome that I just wept into my tea. Long distance high-five, Meg, and a big fat, FUCK YES!!!

  • Christina

    I read APW as I was planning a wedding, I read APW as I was recovering from the breakup, I (present tense) read APW now as a young, completely single, growing person, because at its heart that’s what I feel APW is about: carving out your own space in the world and growing into it, on your own terms. Not tradition’s.

    What a brilliant job you’ve done on carving out your own space. Congratulations on the book!

    (I’m planning on giving my Book Buy copy to a friend who is neck deep in her wedding preparations now, and if or when the time comes for me? I’ll pop back online/to the bookstore and snag another. Easy!)

  • #29! Yay!
    Thanks for having the courage to say over and over how terrifying your dreams can be, how you have to be willing to fully embrace failure. I´m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I think part of that has to do with a blinding fear of failure. Blinding. So, thanks. This makes me feel like I´m not alone, and that just because you are afraid does not necessarily mean that you can´t do amazing things.

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  • tammy

    Holy Wow. First, you look amazing! Love that pose.

    Second, this blog and all the ladies on here have helped me so much this past year while I was engaged. I had an ideal engagement until month 11 and then everything fell apart. This blog and everyone’s words of wisdom have helped me so much. I thought that after I got married under less than ideal circumstances that it would be too painful to read APW, but when you said, “And mostly, I really, really hope that it pushes you to take your own risks, to remember that mortal terror and rejection are what happen before you push yourself as hard as you can, and to remember that it’s never easy.” I realized that this blog still has so much more to teach me. That I am afraid to fail at this marriage “thing”, but I took the chance on us and I am so proud of that.

    PS. I just brought your book!

  • YES, MEG, YES!!! Fist-pumping into the air and so, so, INCREDIBLY proud of you. What a team you’ve built reader by reader, post by post, page by page.

    HUGE LOVE and HUGS your way.