What You Didn’t See On The Circus Last Week…

Sep 12

Things go wrong. Even with ballooons. Sometimes *especially* with balloons.

Sometimes? Things go wrong. The popcorn won’t pop. The flying trapeze won’t fly.  The elephants are arguing politics with the tigers, the star poodle is in the dressing room crying over a bad haircut, and the clown’s nose keeps falling into his breakfast cereal.

Last Week? Yeah.
All of That Happened.

Ok, maybe not ALL of it, and not exactly those things… but stuff did go frustratingly not-right.   I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes around here, so you don’t feel so alone next time you feel like crying over the clown nose in your soup.

It all started 3 weeks ago, when I placed a test order for a product I’ve been wanting to offer for eons, and asked the vendor some questions.  The test came out great, the vendor was responsive and helpful.   I wrote the introductory sales page, created the Paypal buttons, and had a post scheduled to go live for Tuesday, timed to sync with related promotions that would be happening elsewhere on the ‘net that day.

And mixing straight pins with balloons? Pretty much a promise that things will go wrong.I dropped another email to the vendor, with some last minute questions…. and didn’t get a response.  I wrote again, but by the time I finally got a response, the lead time had ticked away.  Worse? Although the vendor was still trying to be helpful, their tone had shifted, they were making changes to their platform, we no longer seemed like a good fit, and I’d lost my confidence in the relationship.

So I sighed deeply, killed the post, and  decided to try the product launch again with a new approach, a new vendor, at an undisclosed future date.  We pivot. it’s what we do –  as @GapingVoid says, it’s called being alive..

That was Tuesday.
On Wednesday…

I plonked myself down in front of a 3-day CreativeLIVE course from Melanie Duncan on using Pinterest as a promotional tool.  I know, you’re thinking, “Three days on Pinterest? Is there enough content for that? REALLY?”

As it turned out, no, there really wasn’t.  The presenter (The very engaging Melanie Duncan) spent about half the time on general website optimization,  but there was enough really useful Pinterest material to get me and a lot of people in the CreativeLIVE chat room excited.

I mean, like really excited – people were going nuts.

So when the presenter suggested everyone take before/after screen shots of their Pinterest home pages? I immediately saw the possibility for networking – why not create a collaborative Pinterest board for sharing progress?  At the least I’d be networking with the other course participants, might get a blog post or two This? It's my prettied up versoin of my "before" Pinterest board for Quirkipreneurs. It has zombies. And brains. Cool, huh?  You can click to see the larger version.out of the deal, and maybe bring me to the attention of the course presenter and the folks at CreativeLIVE.

So I spent the evening exploring a few new tools, prettying up a “before” screen shot, and cleaning up my sad, neglected biz Pinterest account.  I penned a quick post here, explaining the idea, and promo-ing the live class.   I set the alarm to get up in time to double check the layout & links for the post, planning to hit publish before the next day’s class, so I could talk about it in the chat room.

But when that alarm went off?

Pinterest Suddenly,
Inexplicably Hated Me.

The collaborative board wasn’t collaborative; I couldn’t get the invites to work. One of the old boards I’d deleted the night before was back, and it wouldn’t let me re-delete it.  And one of my 4 (yes, FOUR!) followers kept vanishing, and reappearing, and vanishing again.

There was no sense in drawing attention to something that wasn’t working, so I unscheduled the second post in a week. Pinterest started working for me again by Friday, Yeah, this is what it looks like:  a phoned in illustration of a clown nose falling into a cereal bowl. Hush. I was under time constraints here.afternoon, but by then the timing and energy for the post just wasn’t there anymore.

Mind you, a lot of people would have gone ahead and published, but that’s not my style – “consistency” on the Circus is more about tone, style and relevancy than timing.  So that’s how I unscheduled two ready-to-go posts, published nothing last week and wound up with a clown nose in my breakfast cereal.

Was It All a Waste of Time? Nope.

I found an alternative vendor for the planned product line, with better options. Working with them will mean a slightly different approach and reconfiguring a few things, which is a little frustrating, but I think it will work out better in the end.

And sure enough, Pinterest stopped hating me, and is working again. I joined a FB group that’s continuing talking about the CL course (so the networking IS happening) and I’ll still write at least one or two posts about the changes I’ll be making to my Pinterest approach.

Why Am I Sharing
All of This Failure?

When we look at our creative and biz peers, we’re usually watching from the perspective of an audience member.  We don’t see the behind the scenes glitches and challenges, because “The Show Must Go On!” and the problems are swept under the rug and out of the spotlight.

But rug or no rug, at some point or another, everyone finds themselves crying over a clown nose in their soup.

When that happens, it’s good to know you’re not alone.

And you aren’t alone.
Trust me and the clowns on this one.

Flourish, FLOURISH!

Today’s Comment Bribe: Share a story about something big or small that recently went wrong in one of your projects, and get a golden comment balloon! (or possibly a clown nose) ( and maybe, just maybe, a nice big cereal bowl for it all to fall into).

I really wasn't sure what to put here, but it needed a splash of color, so... more balloons! Try to look excited, ok?


  1. I’m pressing a nearly impossible writing deadline and I had to toss some large chunks of writing that didn’t work out. It seemed like backwards progress, but things are starting to take shape again.

    Tori, if the show must go on, why didn’t you continue with the Pinterest post once it started working again? We’d all like to see what you learned, even if it doesn’t correspond to the workshop dates.

    • Tori Deaux /

      It's your lucky day... a gold star AND A balloon!

      <– Here’s your gold star balloon for sharing your writing woes, @Christy!

      To answer your question?  The post was written with a specific & time sensitive goal; there were no tips or hints, it was  just me, in my Circus Barker voice,  drumming up interest and energy and excitement, building off the energy in the live course, and hopefully connecting the two audiences, and spurring them into action that could be shaped as we moved forward. But once the live portion of the course was over, there was no point in trying to do that, it would have fallen flat – and the show I run here?  It’s anything but flat!

      “The Show Must Go On!” means not disappointing the audience.  For a lot of bloggers, that means posting something, *anything*, according to the anticipated schedule (and that’s right, for their blog/purposes).   But for *this* blog, it means making sure that if my audience clicks through, they’ll find something of value, interest, or entertainment.  That post was no longer any of those things, so into the recycle bin it went.