Season 1, Episode 2

Meredith Arthur on Publishing Her First Book

Notes from this episode:

In this episode, I talk with Meredith Arthur, the founder of the Beautiful Voyager, a community and content space for overthinkers, perfectionists, and people pleasers—and the author of Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World. Meredith shares her story of bringing her book into the world, including a bidding war, launching during the pandemic, and all the learning she experienced along the way.
Find Meredith, the Beautiful Voyager, and her book:
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Vanessa Soto 0:13
Welcome Meredith Arthur to the podcast. I’m so happy to have you here.
Meredith Arthur 2:01
I’m so happy to be here. And it’s so nice to see you as well. And I know that people will be listening to this, but hopefully you can feel the energy. We are excited seeing each other. Yes. Yes, it is nice. We’re recording this right now in January, whatever month of the pandemic. So I think we’re all extra appreciative of a little as close as we can get one on one connection these days, right? I mean, we’re almost rounding the bend on a year here, which is how I know I Ergo If you had told me that I it just No, we thought it was gonna be three weeks. So it wasn’t three weeks. But yes, it has been a this is a great excuse for us to reconnect. And so I brought you on today, Meredith to tell us about a book that that you published this year, right in the middle of the pandemic, but just take a step back, why don’t you kind of share with listeners a little bit about yourself? And maybe where you are in the world a little bit about your personal life? Where are you quarantining these days, and about your your beautiful Voyager project? I am happy to and thank you for asking. Vanessa and I met many, many years ago when I worked at a website called Chow, which was part of CBS since then my journey has gotten extremely varied. And I’ve divided down many paths in the tech world. And so I left big media companies working at Food Network to start working at startups. And I was at four startups. Over the course of two years. Actually, it was five startups, three in one year. And it was such a hectic, crazy period of my life. And in the middle of it, I turned 40 and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which was a complete surprise to me. I honestly had no idea I didn’t see it coming. I was diagnosed by a neurologist who explained to me that the pain the physical pain I was having was likely the result of this. And so I started down a completely new journey. I had my career going along, and I was still was working at large tech company. So after the startup craziness, I went to Zillow. And then I was building my own site on the side to connect over thinkers with each other. So that was the beautiful Voyager that was mentioned. And in 2015, the overthinking is like that’s the generalized anxiety disorder, how it shows interest. I think that over when we think about overthinking, when we think a lot about overthink when we think so hard about overthinking, which I have, unfortunately, it is a spectrum. I always describe myself as an overthinker, even before sort of the startup, part of my life hit and the pain hit. And in retrospect, I’ve had more greens my whole life I’ve had many of these symptoms my whole life just didn’t recognize them. I always say that overthinking what makes it over is these elements of either physical pain or other pain that is inhibiting your life. So inhibiting relationships inhibiting work. And for me, that is generalized anxiety disorder, I think overthinking is a broad, vague term that many people relate to. And I certainly related to it, even before I was diagnosed with anxiety. So it was a term that resonated with me. But really, it simply means you feel like you’re stuck in your head more often than most of the people around you.
Vanessa Soto 5:39
Well, and I picked up your book, which we’ll talk about a little bit more later, a couple of times since I, since I’ve got had it. But I picked it up last week, in the few days after the insurgency at the Capitol. And I think more than ever, I related to some of the themes that I was hearing. So when we start talking about that, I think hearing you talk about like those physical manifestations is really interesting. I found myself with three days of migraines. And that’s sort of not common for me, but, you know, maybe maybe related. So that’s, that’s helpful to hear kind of that that’s, that’s it, it’s like that showing up in different places of your life is really what makes it like the over the too much.
Meredith Arthur 6:27
That’s right. And it’s very objective. I mean, the hardest thing for me always about even recognizing that I had anxiety is that I didn’t know to look for objective signs that I was suffering, I didn’t know that stomach aches. And you know, this, this pain in my throat, that sort of achy pain, they just sort of comes and goes, which has a name, by the way, sensation glob globis is like at the base of your throat, when you have that sort of achy throat. I didn’t know that those were objective signs that I was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. I added that overthinking was actually impacting my body and that way, but I think you’re right, Vanessa, a lot of people suddenly are having these experiences. It’s interesting to me, because I didn’t realize how few people actually could relate in the past until now. I’m hearing all these people relate. Yeah, yeah. It’s like the times are creating, unfortunately, probably like more people who can relate. Yeah, than ever before. Yeah.
Vanessa Soto 7:31
Okay. So to circle back a little, you took this experience that you had identified in yourself, and evolved that into a community a website?
Meredith Arthur 7:43
Yeah, yes, I always describe it as a community. It’s not easy to build a community online, what I I basically tried to be a place that overthinker is would land on in Google Google, because after I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, I could not find anything I related to I all I saw was, you know, difficult, depressed imagery of people sort of in dark corners, feeling the pain of the light. And that wasn’t how I felt about these topics at all, I felt extremely curious and energized. And like I wanted to learn. And so that was the destination I tried to create, the community meets in a few different ways. One is in a Slack channel. So there’s a Slack channel with hundreds of people on it that sort of share ideas in writing. So I oversee the medium publication and visible illness and the community appears there through sharing writing, and, and also on the site through personal and through their own personal essays. So I’m always trying to connect people with each other, because that’s what I was looking for. I wanted more information that was that I could relate to. Right, it sounds like you created the thing that you couldn’t find ourselves. That’s that’s literally the only reason I created it was I was looking desperately for it. And I couldn’t find it.
Vanessa Soto 9:03
Yeah, yeah. No, I love that. Okay, so then you built this community. And I remember hearing about it when you are getting started. And you were meeting with people all around the world. And you’re like, wow, there’s all these other people out there just like me. So it sounds like the people found it. And, and they found you. And I’m imagining, that is how you eventually had the opportunity to turn it into a book, which is why you’re here. So let’s dig into that for a second.
Meredith Arthur 9:33
So I started my career in book publishing. I was an assistant editor decades ago, I know that time ago, in New York, I worked at first I worked for a literary agent and then I worked for Harcourt. Okay, and so i a lot of my original group of people in my life, were book people, but people are always my home base. And that’s what I returned to. My oldest friends are all book people. So it’s an unusual experience that not everyone can replicate. But that was sort of my world, many of those people left. And obviously I left because I could see the writing on the wall for working in books. It’s difficult, you know, yeah, and difficult back in 2000, which is how I left. But then I left and went and worked for a large independent bookstore in Seattle, I just wanted to get out of New York, moved to Seattle worked for a bookstore. So I have been on like, every side of the book, staying connected to the book. So I always like in my eyes. And so I moved to San Francisco by selling a book idea, which never came to full fruition, but it did give me the money to get down here. And and have, you know, that was a challenging experience for me, because I thought my idea was good. I sold it to my old boss. And the idea was, the name of it was Faulkner is fired, firing stories from the inside. So I’ve always been very interested in like, job transitions, what it’s like to lose a job, I was fired from the large independent bookstore, because I was so miserable there, and I shouldn’t have been working there. But it was a real like, shock to me, as an overachiever who’s used to always, you know, performing everything. My boss, when I was fired from the bookstore said, this is a favor to you, you are not happy, or you need to change, he was completely right. So I sold this book idea I moved down, but but the it turns out, writers often don’t have jobs. So many of the firing stories were not as useful and as like insightful as I would have hoped. So I was like, sort of inventing something that didn’t really work. And I was living under the cast of this book contract for years. So I the shadow of it. So I was, you know, extremely anxious about this for like five years, like you needed to deliver something against the car, I was gonna have to pay this money back that I’ve been long spent on it, and like, what was I gonna do? Now, this was a different era, and I was very lucky, hardcourt was being sold to a different company. And at that time, there was a big change in like the people who were working there. And I happened to reach out and say, like, I don’t think this book is going to happen. And very generously, they let me out of my contract. So probably rare. But lucky, like, slightly rare. It was a different era. It was very lucky timing. I mean, yeah, it was, I don’t know what I would have done otherwise, I was so so that happened. And it made me think well, I’m, I am never going to undertake this again this year, like no more book writing. And then when I started that away, goes, Oh, my goodness, I was so traumatized. by that. I thought, this is never I’m not going to do this. I’m never going to get myself in this situation again. So then I, when I started working on beautiful Voyager, I felt like I had tapped into something I was so interested in it really, like my curiosity and interest sort of overwhelmed me. So I had a lunch, I was working in a startup at the time, I remember outdoors, he and I sat with my money. And one of the money, I sat with a friend, an old old friend, who is in a fantastic literary agent, and just talk to her about beautiful Voyager and talk to her about the kind of book project I might want to do. And I got a little excited, I got that little hint of excitement. But very quickly, and this was like in 2016. And very quickly, I started overthinking it. So I started coming up with ideas for this book that were way too big. For example, I wanted to commission researchers from around the world to do different studies in different countries about anxiety. And the bigger it got, the more I felt that old feeling of my bad book experience. Like it was starting to come back. You’re almost like recreating it for yourself by making it so? Yes. And so I because I had a wise friend who is very experienced. She’s like, why don’t you set it aside for a while. So I set it aside for three and a half years, and just kept working on the site kept doing what I do, just sort of plugging along very slowly. But surely, I mean, my relationship with this site, and this work is extremely long term. And so I basically then one day was helping a colleague and silho find her way in the book world. She had said she wanted to write a book. I helped her you know, talk to agents and think about and she ended up selling that book and the day she sold it She slapped me and told me she had sold it. And I don’t know what it was about that moment. But I was like, I this is happening. I’m like, back.
Vanessa Soto 15:09
I just got a little shiver when you describe that, yeah, where you’re just like, okay, it’s on. Yes, this now Is that how it felt?
Meredith Arthur 15:18
Suddenly it was on. And it was and it was very fast. From there, I started working on an outline, I started working on my proposal, I started working with my agent, and it was sold within four months. I heard that from a few people. Now, that kind of idea of, I thought about this for a long time, I went through these waves where I was really excited about and i and i and and I told everyone and, you know, then I felt terrible, because people didn’t, weren’t as excited about it as I was. And then I put it away for a while. And then it came back. And I had one person Tell me who came to a workshop I ran a few months ago to the workshop. And she’s like, I saw your workshop post on Instagram. And I was like, I’m doing it, this is gonna happen now. And I feel like that is possibly a common story is the idea. super interesting to me. I haven’t heard other people. But that makes sense to me. Because that it was so clear, it was so clear that like, that moment was the time. And I didn’t overthink it. And I just kept breaking down the project I kept breaking it down into first write my bio, you’re like, do this, then do this, you know, and I just find one, one by one. That’s awesome. So if you hadn’t been in that kind of ready stage, probably would have been more of this kind of swirling light than what it was three years earlier. Right. Let’s take on the world. Let’s boil the ocean. Yeah. And I and I wouldn’t have had the skill set. I wasn’t equipped to do that work. It just was the work again that I wanted to read. It was what went into it and reading in the world. When it became really clear. Okay, now is the time to get the smaller idea come with it. Was it like you could picture it? Or was it just I’m ready to tackle this now. Well, this gets interesting because I always had this idea of, you know how there’s another book in the back of the book. The little Yeah, yeah.
Vanessa Soto 17:27
Literally, Meredith has a teeny little baby book in the back of the actual adorable book. So two adorable books and one.
Meredith Arthur 17:36
What happened initially was I I started tuning into what suits me in the world. My daughter, Alice, who is now 11, who was like eight at this time, had a book of undersea creatures that looked a little like in Rushmore, the Jacques Cousteau book, I don’t know, ever, but like, rushed in Rushmore, Wes Anderson’s movie, the main character, Max Fisher is sort of obsessed with Jacques Cousteau. And there are all these underwater moments. And Alice had a book like that, and I found the book. And it had Helvetica print, and it had just a certain look, and I thought, This is what I’m interested in. I’m interested in the feeling of this image, along with facts that are simplify that are clear, like, yeah, like kind of this manageable simplification of something otherwise, with within it, like ignited my curiosity, for example, like an octopus will eat its own legs, while it’s, you know, just seeing like a headline for that, like useful, new information like that really ignited my curiosity. And so that was when the book really started to come together for me, because I knew that I wanted that I knew that I wanted to feel this way. And everything that I did in working on the book was to feel a certain way. Yeah, like, my gut was like, Did this call me did this call me to this? Yeah. Because then that gave you a picture of the book. What it could give to other people? Yes. It was all about the feeling versus like, what is the what am I? What else is gonna get? Yeah, what am I interested in, which was the three and a half years before which is like the scientific stuff. And then this was more like, what can I create and like, give to other people so they can feel a certain way? That’s exactly others.
Vanessa Soto 19:31
I don’t know if you know, this book. I’m wondering if it’s you, they’re even in print anymore. But when I look at the book, I think of like torn paper. I think it’s watercolor, but it makes me think of a book that I had when I was a little kid about like Frederick the Mouse, that was all torn paper. And I’ll look it up. I’m not I’m kind of thinking it was like a 70s book that is no longer but had a special place in my heart, your book and that one. So somehow that came together in my head. But I like how there was a feeling about the book. And I’m imagining that other people, whether they can relate to that now, or if they’re struggling with a book idea, or how to wrangle it, like tapping into that, like, what is the feeling I might, some of my advice to writers is over here to think visually, like start to feel.
Meredith Arthur 20:22
And it doesn’t mean you have to have a visual book the way mine is visual, but start to take yourself out of words and cognition only. And think about the feeling you are trying to give others for me that is a visual element like colors. And, you know, and I think part of that is because I’ve worked in video and worked in other elements for visual and words person. Yeah, you’re both and, and super interested in how those come together for feelings. But the thing that I use, the language I tend to use is like, what’s the experience that you want to create? That’s like what I talked about with people who have a book project or trying to figure out what to do with? And I think it’s the same thing. It’s like, what’s the experience? Maybe your visual? And that’s where you can get into it? And then maybe the experience is also feeling how do you want to feel as you’re reading or at the end all those kinds of like you said, Get get out of your head, get out of the words and connect the idea to other real life things? Yeah.
Okay. So once you tapped into how you wanted the book to feel, I went super fast for you. And you were just zipping through the book proposal, what were you googling, like, what is the book know what I, here’s what I did, I had been capturing moments of inspiration, over the years in my newsletters. And I was really clear about what I was looking for when I’d write a newsletter, like I’d have a certain moment. And I’d really want to dig in and understand it. So basically, I went back through all my newsletters, and looked for the moments that really popped and started to create an outline. So that was it. Because in your book, you have little snippets from people from the community is that were those ideas from the community? What had originally driven like a newsletter? And then yeah, yes, those would those would either drive a newsletter or be like a punctuating element, on top of an idea that I had written about in the newsletter. So like, the thing, like I would, for example, write a newsletter on it in the Slack channel, and then people would, you know, respond. So that interested me. So the the, like, the structure of the book really came from, really what you had been seeing in the community? And, and and, and that also ties very much into what you’re describing as, like, how do I want this book to feel you’re creating a book for people to read and experience something, and so you want to give them what they’re probably going to be most is going to be most helpful to them? Yes. So then you’ve heard back from the community originally,
Versus maybe like, this is what the story I want to tell. I’m also guessing that for kind of any, any kind of nonfiction book that someone’s working on that same idea would be pretty key is get out of what you think you want to say. And what is the thing that other people need to hear that like other side of your, I mean, it’s a lot less fun. I often when I’m talking to writers, they don’t really spend a lot of time listening to their audience or like, hearing back because they’re still, you know, they’re interested in the fun of sort of expressing them what they want to express or, you know, and it does dilute it could dilute in some ways,
Vanessa Soto 23:54
Yeah, for sure. And, you know, a lot of the people that that I tend to work with, they don’t even classify themselves as a writer. Like, they’ll come from a different background, they have a particular expertise. Or, like, right now, I’m working with a woman who’s a food blogger, so she has this whole she has a whole community. That’s like, the whole thing. Yeah, I mean, she’s already I’m sure there’s a different angle, right?
Meredith Arthur 24:19
But I think even if you already are in that mindset, just staying in it, like yeah, stay in that mindset. Why is a book isn’t any different than how you would interact with your, your blog community? Yeah. You’re not going to suddenly switch gears and just like, tell them stuff, like give that give them the things that they’re showing you their their yearning for more of and help them kind of along that journey. So that’s sounds like that’s the path that you kind of naturally found yourself on. So for months, you put together your ideas and then was this with your friend who you already knew who wasn’t agent was who you were going to share it with. So you kind of already had worked on it with him. I mean, she had been like, intrinsically Connect. Oh, that’s great. Yeah, go. She’s incredible. She line edited and worked on this thing. Absolutely with me. And then that it was time to really start thinking about the design, which was super important to me. And so again, I felt like I broke. I definitely broke some molds there, which is, I ended up finding my own designer and my own illustrator to work on the book, which which many people would say it’s almost like you’re a book packager. Now, thank goodness. And we didn’t know how this was going to go. But thank goodness, the publisher, we ended up landing on liked our proposal, which we had designed, we had designed the proposal to get better with the with the designer. Yes. And the illustrator. So Leah is an amazing artist. Oh, not just Oh, the illustrator. And you found that like, the literal leaders, an artist, Leah’s an artist, she is not a graphic designer. This is Leah? Rosenberg. Yes. Okay. Yes. Incredible. Leah Rosenberg is incredible. And she, so she is an artist who has worked on many in many mediums, but her color is her, you know, organizing principle, her work. And so we knew that if Leah created the art, we still would need a designer to put that art together. Now, in many places, you would just hand off that art to your publisher, and then they kind of put it all together. Yeah. And I think that’s interesting that you did it differently. instinctually because I knew that it was collaboration, I knew I had a vision, I had to spend a lot of time with our designer Sasha talking about and Sasha, by the way, was the publisher of a magazine called meat paper back in the day, I don’t know if you ever remember it was a long time ago. Is it like sort of in the Chow days, but she was she did a bunch of Art and Design for this like cult paper, this cold magazine that people loved called me paper. So So Sasha, and I spent a lot of time sort of digging in, even before Leah came on board, like what? what feelings are we trying to evoke? What is this and especially with a small book, The small book was always sort of this guiding principle little baby book in the little baby.
Yeah. Which we always described as a vitamin or medicine that you could take on the go in your back pocket. Yeah, it’s like a little tiny book that has kind of like the core things that will help you in the moment. It’s how I interpreted of experiencing something, it’s like, you can keep it in your purse or backpack? That’s right. That’s exactly right. Yeah. So then, once Leo was on board, once Sasha was on board, we designed the proposal, we didn’t know how it was all going to go down with this desire to have a designer and you know, we didn’t know what was gonna happen. We sent out the proposal and four publishers bid on it, which was amazing to me. I mean, I was just overwhelmed with like, the response. Yeah. And you just don’t know, you just don’t know. You just don’t know. And they had very different visions of how these books would come together. What is the second book? Like? What is this relationship? And so part of it was meeting people and talking about how they imagined that all happening, and what kinds of things are important to them? I want to hear more about this part. Yeah. Because I think you came in with such a specific vision. And I know, even if you don’t have a visual vision for your book, these are the conversations that are like, is, am I going to be able to maintain my, my vision, and finances, I had to learn a lot in that time. Even though I’d worked in book publishing, I had to learn a lot. And thank goodness, again, some of my closest friends work in the industry so that I could say to them, what areas should I be most concerned, I knew areas that I, for example, I didn’t want somebody that would put anxiety across the top of the book, like that would be all wrong, it would be triggering and stressful. And one of the publishers wanted the title to have anxiety in it. And so I automatically knew like, I don’t like that fit. But there were other things that were super important that I didn’t quite realize until I talked to other people for like, until they started coming up. Like, for example, when when was going to be published. And one of the publishers wanted it to come out in a year from now. So 2022 Okay, so when was it that you were like talking to editors was How long ago? Was it? Like how long did it take to go from those initial conversations till it was 2018? Okay, and right now, it’s like January 2021. So there was one publisher that didn’t even want to publish would have been yours. I mean, and we were super aware about the election. Yeah. So a big thing for me was like, is this before the election or after the election? And I talked a lot to you know, the publisher ended up going with had the shortest timeline. It was like, this is like, coming out the fastest. Was there a reason for that? Like, was that publisher more excited about the book? Or was aligned with your vision of getting it out before the election? Or were there reasons or just like we’re ready to go on it? I don’t have a strong sense of why people propose different times. Yeah, I didn’t have insight into that. I just know that they they’re, they’re sort of offer, as they type their offers in they all they each have different things. Yeah. Yeah. And so you found one that was like, You weren’t gonna have to wait forever. Or they wanted it before the election. I knew I wanted it before the election. And I knew it all before COVID. And all that. So I had no thought about that major element that was had no idea. Which by the way, I think, what was your day that you launched like April 1, like, March, it was like March 18, or something? I mean, it really was a lockdown started? Yeah. So how, like, just since we’re talking about that, how, how was how did all that go down for you? Like back in 2018? You’re talking about the book, then you you guys write it and put it all together? I mean, that’s a huge enough project. And then that’s it. I mean, that’s like you’re writing the book. And then I remember talking to you, you know what I liked Vanessa, it was May 12.
Still bad enough? super bad. But it wasn’t like right as the confusion, it was like, people were sort of getting used to it. But yes, do that. So how so how was it like the launch in the middle of going to your bookstore? I don’t know. I don’t know that much about how it normally goes. I don’t you know, having worked in publishing, I don’t hold a ton of sway into book events. Like, I don’t know if they sell that. Books. Yeah. But you know, all my events sort of went virtual. I think the biggest thing was the shutdown of all the Indies. I mean, this was a book that was supposed to be sort of front table hand sell sold. And I know it affected it. And it really charged me way down. Yeah, I know, numbers are way down across the board. Like, everyone, you know, they’re not, they can’t make any judgments based on how books are doing right now based because you know, yeah, well, if anyone needs a lovely little book to keep on their bedside table, or it’s like very, I think little great little gift book. I feel like Yeah, so the name of your book, get out of my head by Meredith Arthur. Picture and art by Leah Rosenberg. But it sounds like, you’re not saying, oh, when I launched my book, I was devastated. Because of the timing. I mean, it’s just kind of was what it was, is what I’m gonna say everything about this entire experience has been a learning for me, I had no clear expectations. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of advance. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of sales figures. I didn’t know what kind of coverage to expect. So I wasn’t coming into it with like, dash x, which isn’t at all, which is probably like, exactly how to go into anything. That’s kinda Yeah, right. It’s like, I think, yeah, you didn’t you weren’t, you weren’t?
Vanessa Soto 33:51
What did you know, I know, Buddhist practice, you know, releasing attachment, and it works clearly to not hold super tight to things get at the same time that your book is out in the world. And I mean, that’s got to be still very special and and exciting. And, and how, how has that? How’s it been? Like, has it changed things at all for you?
Meredith Arthur 34:18
Yes, I think that it’s really helped me. I do I, I got a new job. So I was at Zillow, which I loved for we can’t keep track of your journey. Now. It’s impossible to like every company. But about a year, a little over a year ago, I joined Pinterest, okay. And it was the first time I was working on emotional well being as part of my job, because that’s the focus area that you have there. And so that is like the book is it’s your identity. It’s part of its I want to say so basically part of your identity. I think really helps people understand my vision of what I want. to work on because now I’m working on exactly the thing I would dream of working on. I’m working with designers working on the exact kind of project. And so I think is really helped people understand me like it’s Yeah, yeah, like you’ve taken the overthinking experience. And combined it with the, all the other skills that you have in content and all the other everything that you’ve done over the years, and you’ve brought them together, it’s kind of like a dream, I think for some people is, I remember when we first talked about it, I guess it was four or five years ago, it was a side project, it was very much a passion project. And now it’s like, fully ingrained in, it’s probably been fully ingrained in who you are. But now it shows up, like even in the work that you do, which is this, like, exciting. I feel like the luckiest person for that. I felt like I feel lucky for you. That’s cool. So it sounds like it was all learning experience. And I’m kind of curious, you know, even though it was all learning experience, you didn’t go into it with a lot of specific expectations. Was there any like one big thing that really leapt out at you that was kind of, you know, specifically related to bring a book to life, that that you really learned or, or maybe something you would do differently? I learned that the more you can, the more you can both envision what you hope for but be flexible along the way. the better off you are. I mean, there were a lot of uncomfortable moments of sort of bringing something I didn’t know what it was really going to be into the world. Yeah. And I, I almost describe it like as a rubber band of like, discomfort to excitement, discomfort to excitement, and one of the discomfort areas was and I still hit this sometimes of it must be imposter syndrome or something of like, Wait, am I can I be the person saying this? Like what? You know. Is it like the overthinking experts doesn’t even have that much like specificity. A feeling of like, fear. Yeah. Like, and then it goes away. Yeah. So So I think what you’re saying is experiencing the feeling and the fear and the questioning yourself along the way. And then continuing to do it all Anyway, you just keep showing up, like uncomfortable fear show up uncomfortable. Yeah. And then like with moments of total excitement, and you know, it’s the same with building tech tech products, actually, it’s the same as building an app like your there are days where like, the new designs are coming together and the you know, the things you want to the people who are using the app to experience are coming together, and it’s incredible. And then there are other days where it just feels like an uphill journey of like, is this is this vision coming together? Yeah. And that’s all of those things are part of that, that whole process of bringing something to life that you really care about that and in this case additionally had particular vision for how it was going to like look and feel like in a tangible way like how you’re going to hold it in your hands. So all those different things along the way when you’re working with what all the different people in the publishing process and all of the probably money decisions they had to make about paper quality I’m making that up but stuff like that, right? They were amazing about that they were they did such a great they did just such a great job of like, always trying to go for the best and compromising if if it didn’t look good. But like they I feel like they invested so much in the book. He really shared your vision and you published with I want to say running press running press Yeah. kind of set known for kind of visual books, I think of them as books and really beautiful photography. And yeah, that was that was probably underlying part of why they were the right the right fit for you timeline with us. But they got your vision and they got it. Yeah, yeah. Well, They sure did. Cuz if I could, I should have it to hold it up to show you right now, Meredith. But my dream is that when people see it on the shelf, they feel good. And I keep hearing that that’s true. That like oh, you know, I just glanced over at myself and I saw it and it made me feel good. I almost want it to be as much a talisman of like connection and feeling as anything else. Yeah, you want to invoke a feeling even without having to open it up, like you already know that it makes you that makes you feel better when you because you’ve flipped through it before. Well, like mine is currently living next to my reading chair downstairs in my living room. And I like looking at it over there too, because it is so cute. Good, very well, very sweet little book. So love hearing about your book journey, it is slightly unconventional in that you had some people along the way that you knew. But at the same time, you went through all that hard stuff that every author goes through and the decision making and the imposter complex and all that stuff. So anyone who thinks that you having some, you know, having some experience in the book world, I don’t think that it doesn’t sound like that takes me out, I still feel like such a novice. Such a novice still, I mean, it, it’s a completely different thing when you’re on this side of it. And it’s a completely different thing when you’re, you know, for me, it had been years, it had been years since I was in publishing, some things are the same. And some things aren’t. And, you know, also I working in technology for so long, you kind of expect certain things like I’m used to having a lot of data about what’s happening with but you know, and it’s all I knew you weren’t getting some of those same things. Yeah, it’s different, although, you know, to their credit has shed has released a dashboard with sales figures and stuff, which just came out, you know, a few months ago. And I think publishers are starting to have this where authors can see their sales figures and stuff, but like, Well, yeah, I see. And what I hear is that the pandemic has really pushed like a lot of industries that we’re not really prioritizing things like broadly sharing data to do more of that. Because as people are like more spread out, and like you just have you get just get forced to like you gotta have systems that Yeah, yeah. So you’re winning from that.
Vanessa Soto 42:01
Meredith? Well,
Meredith Arthur 42:02
I love hearing your story. And I want to close this out with a couple of questions that I’m going to ask everybody on the podcast, let’s do it ready. Okay. from your experience, is there a common myth that people have about publishing or writing that you want to debunk? I thought about this, thank you for sending this ahead of time, so I could chew on it. I think that the I think a big myth is that getting a book contract means that you’ve made it getting a book contract is just the beginning. Yeah, I love it. So much. And there’s so much even now that I’m still do I mean, I will be trying to talk about this book and share this book for many years to come. And, and also, thinking about it, and you know, it’s just, it’s really is just the beginning of the journey. Okay, that’s a good one. Now, this question applies to both, probably your writing and your other world of work. But how would your parents describe what you do for a living Meredith? Got a lot clearer. Frankly, like a few years ago, it was a joke. How much I mean, not just my parents, nearly everyone in my outside non tech life. Yeah. Like, we have no idea. No idea. Yeah. And on top of that, I had done a bunch of different jobs. I mean, I was a product manager after the time you and I met, I wasn’t always content. So I had like, switched around and just even Product Manager, you know, it’s like, what is that? So but now my parents would say my mom would say she does something at Pinterest with mental health. Mm hmm. Plus, she has a site and a book about mental health. Oh, so much easier for mom. A lot easier for my mom.
I love it.
Okay, so as much as you love working on mental health at Pinterest, if money were no object, what would you be doing all day long? I mean, the truth is, it wouldn’t be too different than what I’m doing. Now. I think I just I would just have even more confidence in my approach. And I you know, there’s a fearlessness that comes with just never worrying about money, but I honestly I still would want to be working on what I’m working on. But I would have a second bathroom like this situation in our house. In a tiny Bernal house in San Francisco on top of each other. I mean, the thought of like, all of a sudden Virginia Woolf room of one on one zone starts to relay makes sense in a very different way than she meant it was always like, Don’t make us only make dinner. Our family my husband makes all the meals so for our family, it’s more can I just have a bathroom of my own. I just have my own bathroom. And and I’ll work on mental health all day long. With Pinterest, if I can have my own bathroom and my own projects, I mean, my dream is always to get to just keep doing these creative projects. Yeah. podcasting, working on new book ideas. You know, just, I love this stuff. So, yes, working on an app with Pinterest working on all of these projects, I would just want to keep doing Yeah. Well, what are you What what? Is there something you’re working on next, or that you want to share with us? And you’ve got your podcasts? I do. I have the podcast, and I am chewing on some new ideas. One is a children’s book that I’m super excited about. And early, early, like three and a half years from now stages of like, what is the next? What’s the next book be writing about? Yeah, yeah. And for now, it’s still continuing to talk about Get out of my head. So where can folks find the book, the podcast, what’s the best way if their interest is,
I think
the best way to find all the information is to go to this site that I keep referencing, which is beautiful, Voyager, the URL is b voya. So and I like the words beautiful voyagers smushed together, Bv Oh, ya, okay. And I’ll include that in the show notes. And I’ll link it up to like the podcast. And then when you go to the site, you see podcast and all there really clearly everything is like getting really clear. I’m excited for seeing how it continues to, like, get out into the world since it is still pretty new. And the new the new and future projects are also exciting. Yeah, I am, too. I mean, I have learned so much from working on this book. And I’ve got to say it, it really blows the mind of the possibilities to come. Oh, well, congratulations. Thank you. Thank you for your time. Thank you for for having me. So awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today on she has a book and her now head on over to our website at she has a book in where you can grab your copy of three questions you absolutely must know the answer to before you commit to your book project. And be sure to subscribe so you’ll never miss a show. And while you’re at it, if you found value in this episode, I would so appreciate a rating on iTunes or simply tell a friend about the show. That would help me out too.

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