How am I doing?

February 20, 2012

in Home, Personal

We all have our endless witterings to ourselves, the noise in the head. Mine is preoccupied with ‘how am I doing?

At what? Well, there’s the pain – EVERYTHING. I had a book published six months ago, and due to the vagaries of publishing have no idea how it’s doing. (ie selling? being enjoyed? creating envy?)

So I am endlessly attempting to ascertain, somehow – without any clear idea of what success might look like, how successful I am. Lots of sales? How many? Appreciation? How much? Amazon? (= hell)

I edit a website ( – I can get numbers on that. How many is success? Wider than that – is it a worthwhile contribution to the world: how could I ever know? What if the numbers go down?

All of that might be liveable with, but it doesn’t stop there. Or anywhere in fact. Am I a good wife? That’s a biggy. Won’t know if I’ve succeeded at that until one of us is dead, having been still here, still married and still appreciative and loving up to zero hour.

The rest? Is my cooking/this meal good enough? Did I shop well enough or did I forget some stuff and get too much of something else? Is my appearance good enough – let’s not go there. Am I a good friend? My driving? Being thoughtful/fun/interesting/oh what?? Is my housework good enough? My weeding? My tweeting? Does anyone read my tweets? Like them?  Is my blogging good enough? (a new one this.)

OK. You get it. I hope you don’t do it. The endless endless never ending need for reassurance – but about what? Am I good enough for what? For who?

And we all just end up dead…..


Books 2 copyright Anne Wareham



Paul Steer February 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Anne, I love the honesty of your book, and your blog. The Bad Tempered Gardener now has underlined paragraphs in it. Success cannot be measured by numbers, I think that is one of the subtle evils of our age. Even if you communicate something of our shared humanity and vulnerability with one or two people and it changes how they feel about themselves in a positive way, then that is success in my mind. I found your book a breath of fresh air, and it just chimes with me at this stage of my life.

anne February 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Paul – thank you, and I do hope that that changing how someone feels in a positive way is what this blog may offer. It’s good to have someone say and see that point to this – and to be so kind about the book. XXX

Jane Perrone February 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

This strikes a nerve. Two things I have learned from my OH are a) the ability to say ‘no’ to people – they often respect you more for it and b) not giving a fig what anyone else thinks. But I know I set ridiculously high standards for myself, especially in terms of how my garden looks, so I am always setting myself up for a fall. The lesson? Gardening – and life more generally – are not a competition. Oh, and no one lies on their deathbed thinking “I wish I’d worked harder”.

anne February 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

True – all that. And I have got so much better over years too… (but it does still go on, doesn’t it?!)

Deb February 21, 2012 at 7:58 am
anne February 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

That’s kind, and supportive. Thanks, Deb. (Will try!) XXXXX

Alison February 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Seeking approval seems to be part of how I was brought up – always checking, always looking or the smiles and approval. Wasn’t the done thing to be outwardly confident.

anne February 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm

It wasn’t. So always listening to people’s tone of voice….

Penny WALKER February 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Ah yes, the tone of voice … it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it? Wish the OH would get that message. Just a change of tone/word emphasis…. have you any idea what a difference that would make in how you come across, love?

anne February 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm


John February 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I didn’t know you’d had a second book published :~}. Can we have deets?

Just checked and d’ya know I started my second read of The Bad Tempered Gardener on 19 May 2011 (it was significant enough to record in my diary) which is 9 months ago. It’s got little yellow sticky notes poking out of a number of pages now.

I don’t know about creating envy and someone must be buying it as Amazon are showing a low stock alert again.But, whatever, it’s certainly being enjoyed by me.

Why do you ask about your weeding, though? I thought that was one thing you didn’t do!

anne February 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

No! No second book! Was it really nine months ago? Sorry to mislead you.

I don’t believe anything on Amazon. I envy other people – getting paperback editions and hundreds of reviews or reprints …

I weed as little as possible and people sometimes remark on that.

Wendy February 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm


Well your tweet caught my eye so that one obviously worked. Congrats on your publication. The book looks like a good read. I’ll put it on the want list.

I’ve been feeling like this lately. Have four writing projects on the go and not doing any of them very well. I know what I should do about this but well, it’s February. Then it’s gardening time! Yippee.

anne February 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

But I am just the same about gardening! Glad the book has tempted you though. Must be doing some promotion right….

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