Author Confessions, Oreos & e-Courses

May 11, 2012

Hello everyone and happy Friday! This post is about author confessions, oreos and e-courses but first, I am nearly finished writing my next book so very soon I’ll be back full-time again to bring you your daily dose of inspiration. I really miss blogging! It’s so hard being away but sacrifice is sometimes needed when dreams are involved so I’m trying to look at my absence in a positive way. I must admit though, some days I’d much rather be right here with all of you dishing about the latest pretty finds than writing copy, but then I just keep saying to myself, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” and it helps me head up the mountain. That and a little red wine.

Author Confessions, Oreos & e-Courses

Now it’s time for some confessions and a few oreos. I read on someone’s blog recently that she gets frustrated by bloggers who seem to be handed book deals. It made me sad to read that. I felt attacked in many ways. I almost wanted to comment on her blog that she had nothing to be envious of or worried about because behind the glam facade, it’s really hard work – especially to go from blogger to author, because writing a blog and writing a book are so completely different that the sheer shift alone in going from writing so spontaneously to realizing that what you are writing for a book will forever be carved into stone, well, that’s a lot of pressure. I think any author can tell you that. It’s so much more than just typing text… and no one is handed a book deal unless they are totally famous or have insane connections or sleep with someone at the top. Being an author requires a great deal of inner strength and courage. I don’t always have that though on the outside, you may think I do. Another thing about writing a book… Some think fitting your thoughts into 180 characters (wait, 140!? 140!? No wonder I have such a hard time!) to form a coherent tweet is a nightmare. Sometimes it is! Emptying your entire brain onto paper, having to edit all of that – your entire passion on a single topic – into chapters and sections and WORDS, words that are supposed to make as much sense on paper as they did in your wee head, THAT is completely, amazingly, never-imagined-it-be the hardest part of writing a book. It’s like writing one massive tweet that will appear on a billboard along the freeway with your name in the biggest boldest text ever.

Aside from dealing with the stress of what others assume and feeling a bit drained from that – I started crying last night because I was so completely consumed by the whole process of writing so much lately and feeling really, really stressed. Then I sort of cried myself to sleep (thankfully my husband can sleep through the end of the world so it’s all good for him) only to wake several hours later, in the middle of the night, eating Oreos in my underwear in kitchen thinking about…. What do you know? My book introduction.

Then I got up at 4:00 a.m. in a cold sweat feeling pain in my chest because my deadlines are looming and decided that I should really go make a tea. By the time I went into the kitchen I forgot what I was in there for and just went back to bed. This morning I woke up wondering how it was that I went to bed in my nightgown but instead had only underwear on, and why I had mascara stains on my face – then I remembered my very long slightly stupid night. I decided to kick my own butt by giving myself a pep talk, took a shower and went for a walk in the rain on this very overcast day. Into the forest I went. Muddy boots, hair pinned up, mind filled with words — Words, words, words. An occasional sentence. Mostly words. I found myself speaking blocks of text out loud – like a mad person – reciting color theory and the difference of tints, tones, shades and what a hue was or shall I say, is. I wondered if people would really CARE to read that in my book. I wondered some more. Then I went home and started writing again. I felt better but I still feel a little stressed out and overwhelmed. I’m human.

Everything worth having requires a fight, some blood, a little sweat and a bunch of tears. But you keep going forward, don’t you? You roll forward, sometimes you drag yourself forward, but the important point is that whether you are crawling, being dragged by someone stronger than you, limping… that the word FORWARD is always part of the scenario. As long as you are moving forward you are making progress. My grandmother once said that she doesn’t care if she gets to heaven in a wheelbarrow, she’s getting there. Good for you, grandma.

Author Confessions, Oreos & e-Courses

Enough about that though. I thought today that I’d share what I’m working on OTHER than my book because I’m working on a bunch of equally rewarding projects – albeit stuff that won’t keep me up at night or talking to myself in the forest (let’s hope!).

First, I’ll be teaching Blogging Your Way again in June only this time, the anticipated 2.0 version! I’m excited because even though my dear friend Leslie needs to take some time out for her kids on their school vacation (sad frown), lovely Jeanette Lunde from Fryd + Design will be co-teaching with me for 2 weeks during the 4 week class (big smile). If you don’t know who she is, we have a very similar aesthetic so I thought for this class working with her – a skilled graphic designer, photographer and stylist from Norway, would be really nice for us all. I’m SO HAPPY to have Jeanette because she will teach you all about styling, talk about photography and get into the lovely world of e-magazines and how it works to publish them. Of course, that is in addition to all of the content I am bringing to the table that you can find outlined here. This self-paced online class will start June 1 and end June 29 but you will have the entire month of July to catch up on materials so there is lots of time to enjoy what Jeanette, Thorsten and I have in the works. I’ll miss Leslie but we are about to embark on another project soon so we’ll still have nice things to share with those who enjoy our work in the very near future!

As for BYW 2.0, I’m teaching all new lessons and so for those who already took BYW (the one I’ve been teaching for over three years as an e-course) should consider BYW 2.0 because it’s going to be a really fun class! I’ve also hired an amazing designer, Mark Wilson from MWA in London, to design and build an all new class site, so students will learn in a new environment. I can’t wait! Learn more about BYW 2.0 here and sign up here. He is also designing the all new decor8 blog scheduled to roll out within the next month, too. We’ve been doing a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make your visits to decor8 more enjoyable and I look forward to rolling that out. The anticipation is sorta killing me at the moment!

Author Confessions, Oreos & e-Courses

In addition to the e-course in June, I’ll be giving a two hour class/lecture in a castle located in Germany for this amazing food styling & photography workshop. That’s another project on my plate for summer that I’m really, really looking forward to taking part in. For those who are not attending, I’ll blog about it upon my return so you can see what we did — I’ll be there for the entire weekend workshop so I’ll come home with lots to tell you about!

In July, I will open my home studio space to those who want to come to my house in Hannover, Germany to learn more about blogging and social networking with me in an intimate, supportive and creative environment. The class will be a day class on Saturday, July 28th and last from 9-6 with snacks, lunch and afternoon treats. I’ll only be able to welcome 15 of you, but I’d love to have you! For those who may want to fly in from another part of the world, I will add a second class for July 29th if you’d like – just ask me. It will be loads of fun and more information will follow within the next few weeks. Please drop me an email: holly @ decor8blog.com if you would like to attend on July 28 or if you want to attend July 28 & 29.

SO! That’s what I have on my work calendar at the moment. What are you up to these days? Busy? Bored to death? On the verge of something new? Let me know, I always like hearing the latest!!!

Now where are those oreos?

xo, Holly

(images: Jeanette Lunde)


  • Reply Krista May 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Holly-I’m sorry you had such a rough night last night! Those awful, restless, sleepless nights are so hard….but I’m always amazed by how much brighter things seem come morning. You have a lot on your plate and I’m grateful for all that you do. Forget the naysayers! That’s something I learned from you in the first BYW course. Speaking of, I’m beyond excited for BYW 2.0 and am excited about learning from Jeanette too!

    I hope you sleep well tonight!

  • Reply sandra lund May 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Oh, I feel the stress too. I know I’m not writing a book, but currently I have three exam papers with a close deadline. One of them might be very important and determine whether I get to go to USA to conduct fieldwork in the fall. Blogs are my favorite procrastination thing now, and I miss you pretty posts, but definitely understand why you have to prioritize, good luck :-)

  • Reply Juliette May 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Authors certainly don’t have it easy, and I think those who think otherwise have watched too many movies, lol! I may not have worked on hundreds of books, but all of the books I’ve been a part of (and certainly all the other publications I work with) have all been so much more draining than I ever could have imagined. The illustration you gave about the billboard-tweet is right on! You want your contribution to be worth it…everybody on the writing team feels this way: the author, editors, publishers, agents, photographers, etc., but I do think authors get the brunt of it for sure!

    The good news is you are creating something you want to share, something you’re excited to share, and something somebody thinks you have a good shot at sharing well, so they invest in you. I think that’s what makes being part of the writing business (blog, books, etc.) so exciting!

    Your first book was great, all the text was very purposeful and practical. I think the second book sounds like it’s going to be even more hands-on, which is exciting!

  • Reply Tania May 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I’ve seen comments like that too and roll my eyes. I’m so glad my parents taught me that you can reach your dreams by focusing on your work, not by comparing yourselves to others. I hate those types of poor me, lucky them attitudes. The bloggers that have gotten book deals deserve it in my opinion and many are not one dimensional. Many bloggers are talented writers, stylists and photographers. The bloggers that do get deals are publishing original content. I know I blog because I love to write and there are many who feel the same.

    I’m looking forward to 2.0!

  • Reply Ariana {And Here We Are...} May 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I appreciate your vulnerability. I am on the opposite side of the spectrum right now, wondering if it’s really OK that I’m not producing much besides meals and a nice home environment for my family. I want to go back to work pretty badly, but there doesn’t seem to be a market for what I do in the small English town we’ve moved to. I love blogging, but wonder if it’s really worth all of the effort sometimes– it’s a lot of work, and I don’t get paid to do it at this point. Sometimes I wonder where my life is going, and that has me stressed out, even with a very slow life pace. We all have these things that make us wonder, right?…

  • Reply elisa May 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    sending a hug to you holly, i know a little of where you’re coming from because i felt the same sense of exposure when i had my first solo exhibition. while it was on i felt like i was walking around completely naked! such vulnerability. best of luck with these last days of hard work x

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente May 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I adore you hunnie & can only imagine all of
    The incredibly hard work that goes into all you do.
    The image of you up in the middle of the night, in your undies
    Eating Oreos put a huge smile on my face. Thanks for sharing so much
    My friend, you are inspiring.

  • Reply Tina Ramchandani May 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Ok Holly, lots of information all at once. 1. You told us in BYW 1 to ignore the haters. I know it’s hard to do but you are doing something wonderful and you are working really, really hard for it and only you (and hubster) know how hard. So as hard as it is, not everyone gets a book deal, or everyone would have it. Clearly book 1 sold out multiple times so you are doing something right. Also kind of jealous that you had a midnight walk through the forest. 2. EXCITED about BYW 2 and extra excited about our new teacher! Sad about Leslie though. 3. If I can scrape some money together I’m coming to Germany and visiting your home studio! AHh! Not likely, but maybe I’ll win the lottery soon!

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily May 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    REALLY looking forward to BYW 2 Holly and seeing Mark’s re-design! Will miss Leslie, but Jeanette will be fantastic! Good luck finishing off your next best seller! :-)

  • Reply Chervelle Camille May 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    We are all so grateful to benefit from your discipline and forward movement, Holly! All the waves of pressure and joy you go through only reassures us of the fact that you are human and are down-to-earth. I for one know that I am looking forward to the release of your new book, and can’t wait own it! You’re one of the best Holly.

  • Reply Melissa Condotta May 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Holly, this was such a lovely post. Thank you
    First, know that your readers appreciate all you do for the community and what you have done for the blogging world. You’re an inspiration and fantastic human being, to say the least.
    We all need a good cry now and then :)

    Second, BYW 2.0 WHOOT WHOOT!!!! that’s all i can say. I think this is going to be even better. The content sounds amazing. I can’t wait to be totally inspired by your little team :)

  • Reply Peta Inglesent May 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    anything in life worth doing well will cause sleepless nights…….& anything that gets you noticed or you enjoy will cause envy………I’m thinking about writing a book about 101 things to do with vintage mangle cloths……….trouble is I have to do my own research so will have to make all 101 things……I’m only up to 11 in my dreams……….

  • Reply rochelle May 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I love how sometimes when I pop in here, I read just what I need to hear at the moment. I am in the final days of putting together a proposal for what hopefully/ maybe/ fingers crossed will be my first book. I am loving the process but finding it stressful in ways that I never imagined. I haven’t found myself awake in my underwear in the middle of the night eating oreos, but I have had moments of such intensity that I feel my chest might explode and I can’t have normal conversations with my friends and people who I love. Instead, on two occasions now, after hours of writing and editing to get things just right, I literally found myself so wound up, I couldn’t sit down as I was so full of a fight or flight sort of emotion that I couldn’t shake. Finally I just had to take flight….coming back to loved ones when I wasn’t quite so unshakably ‘in my head’.
    Anyway, — all that to say — it makes me fell better to know I am not alone in this….I hope I can do it long enough to write a whole book should that opportunity come my way. And I can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts in BYW 2.0.

  • Reply Chrissy May 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Aw, while I’m not sure the source (a blogger that wants a book deal? A published author with a blog? someone bitter, period?), rest assured that most people realize how much hard work goes into a book. And also, even if a book is published, people still need to connect with it. That’s the difference between creating something for ego/bragging rights, and creating something because you have something to share with the world.

    I’m completely new to blogging/writing/maybe even social media (I question it daily) and know it will take me a long time to find my “voice”, but I’ve found sometimes that the things that I want to talk about, or things I’m really passionate about, aren’t necessarily what people will connect with or want to read. It’s hard to want to explain everything about something to someone when you aren’t having a private conversation. I think that’s why you need to do what you can with writing/books/blogs, and appreciate close relationships for being able to bridge that gap of all the passions you can’t exactly explain to the public.

    Good luck!! I like these posts- they are very human.

  • Reply Renee May 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Holly, I am so happy for you and your success! Don’t pay any attention to those “silly” people who think it is all so easy. Enjoy and celebrate your success!!!

    By the way, I just signed up for the BYW course, I took it 3 years ago and loved it, can’t wait to join the fun.


  • Reply Amberly @ The Good Life May 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Whoaaa that really is a ton of stuff going on in your head right now! As readers we have A Lot to look forward to (so excited!) but it’s easy to understand how you’re so overwhelmed! I really like how you gave yourself a pep talk and took a walk outside to get your head straight (for the most part). Even when we actually do have a lot of things on our plate that need “to be done,” our thoughts can really take over and make things seem 10x worse than they really are. Luckily there are lots of tricks out there for dealing with anxiety and the crazy thoughts it brings. And it sounds like you know some of them. :)

    Your determination and perseverance is really inspiring, so thank you for this post. Thank you for being so honest and open with all of us. That’s what I love most about blogging. And I hope that your communication with readers and the blogging community is able to give you some bit of strength through this wild time!

    Have a nice weekend Holly!

  • Reply Yemi May 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Holly, I admire your courage, discipline, honestly. To follow ones dream in life, we must be willing to get out of our comfort zone. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing for journey.

    I look forward to the release of your new book, can’t wait to own one. Keep the good work.

  • Reply elizabeth May 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm


    Aren’t Double Stuff Oreos just the best? I ate a whole row last night! Love them.

    Here is a quote that I love that may inspire you when you get low –

    “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars… ”

    Jack Kerouac (1922-1969);
    American novelist and poet

  • Reply Maria at inredningsvis.se May 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    LOVELY PICS:) I really like your blog and I follow you..I hope you will follow me back:)

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria

  • Reply Sandra May 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Looking forward to 2.0 too – will miss Lesley but excited about Jeanette and her different ideas/input/creativity.

    When I did 1.0 last year I hadn’t even started my blog yet. Now I have a number of months under my belt, a blogger conference attended and some collaborations. And learned photography. Started learning, that is. Phew – things have changed. REALLY looking forward to new learnings and challenges.

    Poo on the envious. You know, it’s hard work and all and sometimes it’s also just luck. Being in the right place at the right time. You still have to have done all that hard work though. And sometimes we just go through some bad luck and aren’t in the right place for that book deal. The next person/blog gets it. So be it.

    You just have to keep moving forward and learning.

  • Reply Bonnie McCarthy May 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Your work inspires me and we all stand on the shoulders of those who go before us -thanks for hanging in there and making it happen! It brings hope and opportunity to us all! Sleep well!

  • Reply Louisa Blackmore May 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    This is a really moving post, probably because it’s so personal – thank you, genuinely, for sharing that because there will be so many readers who feel better just reading it.

    To know that someone like you, who has achieved so much, wakes up and thinks “hang on…why do I have my nightgown on?” clearly sends a powerful message that we are human, we feel and we have ups and downs.

    Hope you get a good night’s sleep – it does make all the difference.

  • Reply Desha May 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Holly, you are so honest. Thanks for letting us know that even YOU have to deal with mascara stains and oreo crumbs (mine would be in the bed, I think yours’ was in the kitchen…). I like what your grandma said “keep moving forward”- I’d like to add, “just keep moving. period.” sometimes I don’t know if I’m moving forward or backward, but I know I have to keep MOVING and hope, and pray that somehow it will eventually take me forward…even if it’s just a few steps in the woods :)

  • Reply Jessica Senti May 12, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Hey Holly!

    Sending you virtual hugs! I hope that the rest of the book goes smoothly. I can’t wait read it and for 2.0 to start!


  • Reply deneise b May 12, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Holly, this post almost made me cry. You were the first blog I ever read and I don’t even remember how I came across it. you made me want to start my own blog. I am shy and don’t have much confidence in taking chances. But much of your e course was on just that… you have made me take those photography classes I didn’t really want to take as I didn’t feel good enough. you made me try to be a better writer even thought God know it’s not my passion. I am shooting a wedding in september and I am scared, so scared it makes me sick, but i know i have to do it, get the first one out of the way so i can learn and become better. Holly I remember you saying in your e course how you would go to barnes and knoble to learn more so you could follow your passion. I think sometimes it is just scary along the way because doubt sets in…you have a case of the doubts I think. Not everyone loves what we do and we don’t love everything others do. People get jealous, we get jealous. The blogger you spoke of could be jealous of your book, but you might wish you had her naturally curly hair… you inspire people…keep inspiring us!

  • Reply Di May 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Hi holly,i love your openess and honesty about how you are dealing with all that is going on in your life. Im constantly amazed after reading about what you are up to. You are such an inspiration. I did the byw course last year,and might just have to do this one-too much too miss out on if i dont!

  • Reply Patty May 12, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Love this post. I love books and have always wanted my name on one. Who knows? Someday, right? But I understand that it’s a whole lot of work. Keep going and grit your teeth. Decorate was my first, and so far favorite, decorating book!
    I’ll miss BYW 2.0, having taken the last session in November. I trust you will be offering it again. I will be embarking on my own e-course–how to teach art to children–so I’m up to my eyeballs in creating the course. Hard work, yes. Fun? Absolutely!
    Can’t wait for your new blog reveal!

  • Reply Jenni @ Jarfly May 12, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Hmmm, handed a book deal? I thought that only happened to reality TV stars ;) Seems like anything worth doing is scary and lots of hard work, your story is a perfect example of that. The other night I cried because I’m the oldest in my graphic design class, and I can never remember how to do things on a MAC, so the younger students are always rolling their eyes at me while I have my hand up in the air. Think I may start carrying some oreos with me to class! I was having iced tea with a friend today and your lovely book came up in conversation…all the way over in Portland, OR. THAT is a far reach, lovely Ms. Becker. You done good! Can’t wait for Decorate the second installment!

  • Reply Rebecca May 12, 2012 at 2:14 am

    never apologize for the good fortune that comes from your own hard work ~ no one else knows your own behind the scenes efforts!
    many a negative come from 3 simple elements: pride, envy & jealousy… please go on being human….

    btw, love your work!

    thanks for sharing, R ;)

  • Reply Delane May 12, 2012 at 2:55 am

    I can’t imagine how you juggle all that you do!!! And….it all ends up being so interesting, beautiful and heartfelt. I am just starting to put together my blog and only dream that it turns out 1/10th as good as yours.
    I hope you sleep well tonight!

  • Reply kristin johnsen May 12, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Holly – you are so good about being honest in your blog – I so appreciate that you felt comfortable enough with all of us to share your bad night! Hopefully it is all worked out of your system and you’ll have a GREAT weekend! I’d love to join 2.0, but timing is not good for me with my incredibly busy job this year – I so look forward to being back to home and business as usual in the fall, and hopefully another BYW 2.5 version!!! Sounds like there are lots of good new pieces of information and good instructors this time around – sorry to miss is! thanks to you, I’m still blogging and even in this busy different work year for me, still being true! Take care – have a good weekend – thanks for being so real!

  • Reply Gracey May 12, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I love reading your blog, and following along with your adventures. It is so inspiring to see someone who works hard, and makes all those ‘easy’ dreams happen. It only happens if you put the work in, and you certainly do! I think every creative venture is probably 1% chocolate, 1% wine/crying (interchangeable), and 98% crazy butt busting work.

    Keep it up!

    • Reply decor8 May 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      All of your comments are really encouraging and I’ve liked hearing your personal thoughts on this topic so much… I think it’s amazing how we’re all so much stronger together. Rock on, y’all!!!!

  • Reply Laura May 12, 2012 at 4:10 am

    A great blog is no small thing and I have your book which I LOVE! You are a talented writer.
    I am working on the 4th revision of my middle grade novel, and preparing my marketing packet for my arts in education programs (showcase is Thursday) and after this week, and these are finished, I am creating new art for my portfolio and reworking my website. THEN, I think I need to resuscitate my dying blog!
    ~ Laura

  • Reply cyndi May 12, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts – you always inspire and amaze me – what energy and drive! I have been to many workshops and classes over the years, but I have never learned as much as I have during the BYW class! Thanks for all of your sacrifice for all of us!

  • Reply Shari May 12, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Amen, sistah! No one who writes could possibly think it’s easy. Sports columnist, Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith summed it up nicely, “Writing is easy, you just sit at your typewriter until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

    I love your work and your passion. You’re an inspiration to me and so many who live vicariously through you.

    My worlds a better place for having you in it.

  • Reply sharon | the teacup incident May 12, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I loved your first book and through your blog can see how incredibly hard you work at writing, research and promotion. You teach, you lecture, you travel and share thoughtful and meaningful ideas – that’s why you’ve been able to get published! Tell the crabby blogger that “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation” :) I can’t wait to read your next book. Here’s to Oreos!

  • Reply Anna Duffy May 12, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Hi! I’m new to reading your blog and I love this post. Thanks for being so honest and down-to-earth! I have recently started my own blog and struggle with wanting to seem interesting to others but still wanting to be myself! ~Anna

  • Reply Tish May 12, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Oh Holly,

    I’m a new reader but my heart still goes out to you like you’re family lol…I immediately wanted to scream out “I’ll help her write!” You just need a good friend who can be your cool sounding board for the times where the words aren’t forming…or aren’t forming correctly.

    There’s this quote, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

    It helps me remember what I do is badass and not for the weak of heart. Carry on gangster of the pen. You can do it!!!

    PS And now I’m totally interested in taking your class :)

  • Reply Casey May 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Hi Holly,
    You never told us which one you were – totally famous, good connections, or sleeping with someone at the top? Now I’m REALLY curious…

    I hope that made you laugh since I’m totally joking. I really admire your dedication to your book(s). I remember freaking out in college when I had to write papers. It can be so difficult! Especially when you think you’re on a roll and kicking butt, only to proof your text and find out you were using some of the same words over and over again!

    I’m so excited for BYW 2.0! Can’t wait to learn some of your tricks. :)

  • Reply Emma May 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Hi Holly, long time no comment! I did BYW last year with my blog ‘Cinderella at Brindabella’ and loved it. Since then A LOT has happened, I’ve planned a wedding, gotten married, made the biggest and hardest decision to pack up our entire lives, quit our jobs, re-home or sell our pets/cars/furniture, and travel around Australia for an indefinite amount of time. We’ve walked away from everything at Brindabella, my family farm, long story short but I know allllll about those sleepless nights, eating oreo’s in your underwear in tears! Everything happens for a reason though, right? Right. Onwards and upwards. So, Cinderella at Brindabella is no longer, I don’t really blog very well anymore but this time on the road and away from ‘reality’ is giving me heaps of time to plan, think and plan some more of what I want to do when we return ‘home’ – wherever that may be, we’re not sure! BYW 2.0 sounds amazing, but not for me this year, perhaps next year…
    Much love, Emma

  • Reply Sandy May 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    This is great news – publishing an e-amg is one of my goals with my blog this year. And I am very interested to join you at your home studio in july. How to sign up for? warmly, Sandy

  • Reply Sandy May 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Goodness, I meant e-mag, terrible typos today ;-)

  • Reply Tracy A. May 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Hang in there, Sweetie!

  • Reply Patti Trostle May 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I love your blog. All I can say is, try to push out the negative and move forward with the positive the very best you can each day! So true..Forward is the magic word!!

  • Reply jeni May 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    please don’t cry. you’re a dear inspiration every day! come hide in charleston anytime and put your toes in the sea xo

  • Reply Lana@whatsthestorymorninglory.com May 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t understand how some people can be so judgmental. How can they criticize someone getting a book deal, when they have not walked in those shoes. It sounds to me like they were just jealous and have no concept of how much work it is. Things can looks easy when you have not done the work, and are just an observer. This works for everything from loosing weight to learning just about anything. Tomorrow is another day and I am glad you are felling better. Can’t wait for the classes to begin and your new book.

  • Reply Traveling Mama May 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Girl, you are completely awesome and you have an eager audience ready to hear anything you have to say, whether it’s about oreos or tints and hues! I know you can absolutely rock this! You are an incredibly amazing and talented woman, so just take a deep breath and keep going. Your first book was incredible and I have no doubt that the second will be just the same! Plus, you are almost done, so why stop now? :-) Personally, I talk in my sleep when I get stressed, which has gotten me into some trouble in the past. It’s awful when others can hear your inner most thoughts just because they were unlucky enough to share a room with you at camp! LOL! Big, big hugs from Copenhagen! PS I would really LOVE to take that course in July, but we will be traveling. I was hoping maybe you would offer it again, maybe even let a few of us gather our own group?

  • Reply Maya May 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you.

  • Reply Chedva May 13, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Wow, Holly, I almost cried when you described that feeling of waking up to remember your deadlines. Thank goodness we work on projects we love, otherwise it really would be unbearable. As for your question, I’m going to my first bloggers’ conference in NY this week and working on something special for my fellow Israeli bloggers… Not bored at all, to say the least! Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

  • Reply Tricia May 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Wow! I’m glad that I read your email today. Sometimes I need a reminder that I need to quit whining and carry on–you’re a great role model for that. I needed that kick in the butt–thanks! But seriously, I really admire what you have done and are doing, and jeez, I’d be exhausted and near tears at times myself. We are human, I’m glad you admit it–as some do not. It sounds like you are balancing things out for yourself this summer (mixing fun with your hard work). That castle thing sounds amazing You keep on truckin’ Holly–you’re the bomb in my eyes!

  • Reply fenny setiawan May 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I am reading this at Sunday night after a nice warm shower. It is now my quiet time and I am glad to read this. I always enjoy your post Holly, not only what you share about beautiful finds but also about your thought, vision and dream. I think you are always a very positive person and passionate about your life, it is a good example for me and everyone who are your loyal readers. I just regret I cant join BYW2.0 this June. As much I really want to join but time not allowed. I am busy preparing my IELTS test and I will be traveling to few country at Europe on June, about two weeks. I hope I can join for the next round and I really hope in the future I have an opportunity to join the BYW at your home studio too. I think it is possible :). I am going to meet my few blogging friends during my Europe trip that I never thought I will meet them in person.
    Have a great weekend. Xo.

  • Reply Nicole May 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Holly,
    I really don’t want to put pressure on you, BUT I can’t wait to have your second book in my hands! I know, it will be fantastic again!
    Love, Nicole

  • Reply Elfya May 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    So very nice to read rawness and truth! How refreshing! I can get so tired
    of being around perfect people that ultimately make me feel like I am the crazy one with all my emotions and insecurities. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that we indeed are only human and we don’t need to be perfect. I am so hoping that there will be a little spot available on July 28th.

  • Reply Anke May 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I don’t understand this sort of envy. Shouldn’t it be inspiring to other bloggers to see what’s possible? Anyone who has achieved anything worthwhile has worked their butt off. There really are no shortcuts.

  • Reply julie @ tractorgirl May 14, 2012 at 2:26 am

    SUCH a great post – love your honesty, thanks for reminding us all that the glamourous life isn’t actually all that glamourous…
    And I could not agree with you more about moving forward. My motto is “If you keep going, you’ll get somewhere” – good to remind myself on those days when I seem to be drowning in the impossibility of everything. x

  • Reply deb May 14, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Hi Holly. In the midst of your tears know that you have accomplished much and you share a sort of light and peace and that is why I love reading your blog and book (s) You go girl! and Jeanette-wow she is truly an amazing women and I love her to bits. Loved sharing about her work on my blog. What a inspiration! I’m truly sad to not be able to do the e -course again this year.Im expecting my 1st child and in the midst of burgleries (camera was stolen) and renovating and saving I just cant do it.
    One day I will! Stay gorgeous and happy you doing a wonderful and precious job xxxx Debs

  • Reply Angela May 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

    after reading your post, I just signed up for the BYW 2 course. I can´t wait the beginning. Have a nice week.

  • Reply Simone May 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I am busy with making my new house beautiful with the help of your amazing blog.
    Your book will be amazing as you are clearly putting everything into it!
    Ignore the negatives and keep going. It will be very worth it!

    Good luck and don’t feel guilty about the oreos!


  • Reply Kate May 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Hi Holly, thank you for sharing your story I really admire your honesty and courage in sharing your journey as a writer – the ups and also the downs. Decorate is one of my all time favourite design books and I’m sure that your next book will be just as if not even more inspiring and a huge success. I really believe that when people write ‘negative’ things it really says so much more about them and their current situation although it doesn’t make it right. I My favourite part about blogging is that there are some truly wonderful and kind people out there and thankfully they seem to outweigh the negative nellies. I’m all signed up for byw 2.0 and can’t wait to hang out and learn more about this crazy but wonderful world of blogging x

  • Reply Tracey Leigh May 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Holly,
    I’m sure all your hard work will pay off. It’s great to see how far you have come too. You posted my home back in 2009 and I’ve seen your blog just grow and grow. I always read your blog even though I rarely comment.
    It’s my favourite blog. Good luck with your new book. Remember to breathe. ;-)

  • Reply Amanda May 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Holly
    Your blog is beautifully laid out, no doubt about that. I’m a new blogger and I must admit it didn’t occur to me to go on a course before I started. But back in January I read a book by Tara Frey called ‘Blogging for Bliss’ (which features you!) and it was really helpful. I think blogging should be fun and we bloggers could get too stressed out with making our sites look amazing. We need to remember they need to look inspirational…and that’s slightly different. Your post makes interesting reading and I think it makes you seem ‘real’.
    Congratulations on your book deal…at this moment in time I’d be happy with a magazine column!!! Amanda

  • Reply Rebecca May 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this moment of weakness! I don’t understand people thinking you are handed anything. If opportunities come along it is because you have been doing a ton of things: blogging regularly about interesting topics (now that I have a blog I understand it is not easy), style great pictures (again effort) and finally published a great book (major effort) that people like me buy! We don’t buy to make you happy (even if it does) but because we find the book interesting and special! So yeah nothing is ever “handed” to anyone! Kudos for keeping up with the good work!

  • Reply barb blair May 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I think you are the coolest….just the coolest! I was laughing out loud at the underwear and oreos…….too good my friend! totally love your honesty, your wit, and your spirit! xo

  • Reply Wrenaissance Art May 15, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Congratulations on progressing so far with your new book!
    Glad to hear you unplugged and went out for a nature walk to deal with those raw nerves and frayed emotions. Spending time outdoors and being physical is so important when you work inside your head, whether it’s writing or painting. The internet unfortunately amplifies the negative side of brain work, I think, because it makes it so easy to hear all those unpleasant nagging voices that can kill the creative spirit.
    Here’s to keeping a sense of balance!

  • Reply mariwitch May 15, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Dear Holly – Thank you so much for sharing your author confessions. I have no doubts that you totally deserve the book deals and I am so inspired to see that you have remained humble and human and authentic. I am looking forward to your new book – and yes I would love to read about color hues and whatever you have to share, I am sure they will be useful and insightful. :) My spirit supports yours. :)

  • Reply Abigail May 15, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Thank you very much for sharing these ideas. You really did a wonderful job here. And I also like the way you write. By the way, when will your next book come out? I hope you’ll have a happy week!

  • Reply Trina May 15, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Holly – I love these kinds of post. First of all, anyone, that says stuff like that really doesn’t have a clue, so whatever. I can only imagine the amount of work, love and tears that you have put into your book! Thank you for sharing so openly….that is one of the very reasons your blog is one of my absolute faves. Somehow you manage to share beautiful things, images, spaces and places and yet, at the same time, have these very real, open and honest conversations. And the thing of it is, you effortlessly mingle these two things in such a beautiful way. I hope to be able to share both forms of beauty with my readers in my own voice!
    Keep going, girl… we are all cheering you on! And oreos along the way def help!
    xo . trina

  • Reply Joanne @ eBoutique.ie May 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Brilliant news your doing a version 2 of the BYW. I’m off to check out the details now – I did the first one and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Your food styling and photography course also sounds amazing – I want to do them all. I featured your book as a styling prop in one of my photography shoots (I’m an amateur though so would lovvvve to attend your photography course :) for some of my products so must send you on a copy of it.

  • Reply Danette May 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Good for you! I love how hard you work and you keep your head high.
    I also end up in the kitchen in my undies with a package of Oreos sometimes….better than therapy!

  • Reply patricia May 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Holy moly Holly! You have so much going on—so inspiring!

    I can relate so much to what you said about writing a book. It was like climbing the highest of mountain peaks—particularly because I don’t consider myself a ‘writer’. Phew!

    I’ve signed up for another round of BYW and I’m excited about that! I definitely need a refresher course. I’ve hit another blogging wall and before giving up my almost 7yrs I want to see if I can keep going.

  • Reply Kajsa May 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I got a book contract with a US publisher for my first sewing book thanks to my blog, coming from a small country in Europe this was a wonderful opportunity. I’ve heard those comments too… Some people just don’t get how hard you work! We need to focus on those who do, and that is the vast majority! And hey, who got the idea that bloggers are stupid blonds or whatever? I have studied and worked several years at the university :)

    I’m sorry you felt so bad last night, with such a popular blog I can understand that you feel under pressure sometimes. I feel like hiding under a blanket myself sometimes… Rest assure that people will like to read whatever YOU have to say, that is why I keep coming back to this place.

    I will spend Summer working on my next book, though I swore not to spend another Summer like that, I just don’t seem to have enough time and peace during winter.

  • Reply Deborah May 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for being so honest about how difficult this has been for you. You are right it is easy for other people to idealise what it must be like to go from blog to book or indeed to have such a lovely blog. I am reading your first book at the moment and I love it.

    I am studying interior design and learning German as I am moving to Hamburg in a year and a half from England. My family are going to be in Germany for two years. I hope that I get the chance to meet you when we are out there. The tutorials you are running in Germany sound wonderful. Thanks for your blog.


  • Reply Sacred & Profane Designs May 15, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    2nd book!!? That’s wonderful!!! And a new e-course? Amazing! Who care about what a few bitter people say? You work hard and you deserve it!!!
    I have created an art print which I sale on my etsy shop that helps me get by every single time I face difficulties. It features this quote:

    So, go on and make yourself a delicious breakfast!

  • Reply Laura Trevey May 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Keep moving forward ~ as you say Holly!! Everyone admires you and all that you have accomplished. The negative Nellies are just plain jealous that they have not been able to walk the talk like you have…

    Keep moving forward, you are an inspiration!

  • Reply Suzie May 17, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Hi Holly,
    I read that post too.I thought it had to do with the blogger book deal that was on NYT on Sunday (May 6?) – and with some strange influence by the moon… Since I was feeling frustrated too, and not knowing why.
    So don’t take it personal!
    Some moments of frustration always happen in business life.
    But it is more that the frustrated person is not happy with oneself.
    Not sure, if this helps.
    Anyway, this was some days ago, and you probably don’t care anymore ;-)
    Have a good day!

  • Reply katrina May 17, 2012 at 3:53 am

    hi holly, as much as i love your current design, i’m really looking forward to the seeing decor8’s new look — that’s so incredibly exciting news!

    i have a question about your upcoming course. you mentioned that Jeanette is going to cover e-magazines and what it takes to publish them. will she cover a bit of inDesign, as well? please advise. thank you.

  • Reply erinn May 17, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Holly, I’ve been a reader of your blog since the very beginning. You inspired me to start my initial blog, now years back. It’s been amazing and inspiring to see your blog and career grow and evolve. If it’s one thing I’ve learned is to NOT make assumptions about anyone, ever. I know how the reverse feels. But one thing that comes across in everything you do is the incredible amount of work you put into your pursuits. This is so well put: “Everything worth having requires a fight, some blood, a little sweat and a bunch of tears. But you keep going forward, don’t you? You roll forward, sometimes you drag yourself forward, but the important point is that whether you are crawling, being dragged by someone stronger than you, limping… that the word FORWARD is always part of the scenario.” I need to post it on facebook or something! I had a blog (the happy living blog, which you mentioned way back…THANKS!) for awhile while working for others in order to pursue my own interests. I am now officially self-employed with my own architecture/design studio and a website in the form of a blog and in so much of what I do, my quest to put myself out there in the most true way, I always think to you and to how true you are. So this is part thank you, part encouragement (I hope!) to keep going. I am signed up for my second BYW course and I can’t wait. Blessings and continued success! E

  • Reply Megan May 18, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Point 1: lucrative publishing deals are never handed out. Savvy publishers who know their efforts will be rewarded are behind these deals, and I doubt they offer them to just any blogger on the internet highway. Point 2 (and more close to my heart): I waited with smiling anticipation to purchase your book because your blog has become an inspiration in my own life — not just in the sense of design you and your contributors display that makes me catch my breath and think, “Oh! THAT’S what I’ve been looking for!” but in a very personal way as well. Your own success story has fueled my own professional fire with respect to figuring out what MY voice offers my field, and how I can best shape that and mold it to be successful and meaningful to my clients. I’m in a very non-design field (Physical Therapy), but I think the same willingness to be open and joyful and passionate are critical in all walks of life. So. That’s all. Much love!

  • Reply Jenna May 19, 2012 at 1:14 am

    One. I love your first book – it is fantastic. Number two can only get better, so don’t stress! Two. Totally excited about your summer e-courses!!

  • Reply Lisa May 19, 2012 at 2:11 am

    You’re my hero, Holly.

  • Reply Vy May 19, 2012 at 6:45 am

    hi Holly! I love your blog and get so much inspiration from you. I think the person who made that comment is petty and probably frustrated at her lack of success. Book deals are not handed out. Aran, Beatrice, Katie and many other bloggers worked hard for their book deals and absolutely deserve them! Can’t wait to see your second book!!

  • Reply Annabel May 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you so much for writing about all the things I am feeling! Wish I was as gutsy!
    I agree with ALL of it, I have just finished writing a book and it was the hardest, most exhausting, sobbing for no reason, 6 months in pajamas with bed hair at 3pm experience. It was also thrilling, overwhelmingly emotional (in a good way) and satisfying experience of my life. I didn’t sleep with anyone to get the deal, nor am I famous or well known…I just worked really hard and researched and wrote about my dream and lucky for me, someone believed in it! It saddens how people think it is so easy, so glamorous and in many cases turn into haters. The whole experience has really opened my eyes to so many things!
    I love reading your blog, you are truly an inspiration to me! I think my world is a little more beautiful because of you. Thanks!

  • Reply Katie May 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Well whomever it was who had the galls to squirm on someone else dreams by being down on bloggers succeeding, in not only the online world but print media as well, need a big ole fat boot up their frumpy behind. Jealous much?

    We love you and love you even more because now we get to enjoy your immense talents an inspirations online and in books!!

    You make sure you keep your head damned high women because you deserve every moment of your glory.

  • Reply Valentina May 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Holly I love this post, you are the ONE! Good luck for all your projects!

  • Reply Noelle (fiestafacil) May 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much for your post, Holly! It’s so REASSURING to see that someone as good at this as you are also stresses out, works hard and sometimes cries! It gives the rest of us hope, thank you. I’m a pretty even-keeled person, and can handle a lot of stress, but I had my first ever panic attack (yes, the kind where you forget how to breathe!) just a couple of weeks ago, due to an overwhelming amount of work, uncertainty and frustrations. Humbling, and alarming, but to hear that it DOES indeed happen to otherwise very strong people, is a great relief!
    I look forward to buying your book! Hang in there, it will SO be worth it!
    Best regards from Madrid in Spain,
    Noelle (blog.fiestafacil.com)

  • Reply Glenda Childers June 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Hope you got a long cozy nap.

  • Reply Lisa Porter June 4, 2012 at 3:55 am

    My oh my you are a busy girl. Holly you are so great to share the ups & downs & oreos. I’m an Oreo girl too! With a glass of cold milk to wash it down….almost every night. It’s my reward to myself.
    BTW. Don’t ever ever ever have a chocolate filled (Paul) Newman’s-O!
    If you do though, let me know :)
    Best of luck with all of your “moving forward!”
    xo Lisa

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