Ground Rules

The nonstop motion of the last week was rewarded by a great dinner with a wonderful group of friends and family.

I thought the moral of the story was going to be along the new-agey lines of “envision the outcome you desire and it will be so” and actually, having prepared how I was going to handle the usual source of friction (yes, I know, I am weird for not wanting anyone to help clear the table), it never came up. I’m not sure why preparing for the worst guarantees that you’ll never need to use that preparation, but it seems to work that way.

The real reminder that this is life, and life seems to have an aversion to following plans, lay in the schedule. Continue reading “Ground Rules”

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How Hard Could it Be?

This week hasn’t lived up to the goal quite as much as I hoped, and it occurs to me that this blog may end up being as much about failure as about success. After all, eschewing easy means embracing hard, and hard things are… well, they’re hard. I can’t expect to skip blithely off down a challenging path and never have a misstep.

Which I’m realizing may be the biggest challenge of the whole thing. I’ve been writing a lot – in the space of a few days I’ve completed one entry and started two others – and I ought to be thrilled. Instead, I’ve scrapped them all because they didn’t live up to my comfort level and suddenly I’m getting very self-conscious about everything. “Transparency” is a wonderful and exciting and sexy catchphrase… and then you realize how awkward it is to live in a glass house. Perfectionist? Who, me?

Which is to say, it may be time to remind myself that, even if your goal is perfection, you don’t have to be perfect on the way there. By definition, you won’t be. And as long as you’re moving forward, there’s nothing negative about that.

Reasons & Rhymes

Why this? Why now?

  1. Because there are only so many times it’s funny to walk into a social media panel discussion, or a blogger meetup, or …, and not have a blog. (Or a Twitter account.) Now when people ask me, “Do you have a blog?” I can say, “Why yes, I do, and it is…”
  2. It bridges that awkward networking gap when you talk to someone for 15 minutes and like them well enough to keep in touch, but not enough to be instant friends or justify hanging out. What are you supposed to do to forward the connection? A blog is a nice low barrier to entry: “Here, find out some more about me at your leisure and without my necessarily knowing anything about it. And if you’re comfortable, or if something I say resonates, we have a nice conversation starter already at hand.”
  3. To create. There’s a full post brewing about the emotional reasons, so I’ll save that for later.
  4. Related to #3, not to let life fly by unnoticed and, as the philosopher says, unexamined. For me, writing is fundamentally about curiosity, so a program of regular writing means I have to pay a little more attention to each day’s events and give a little more thought to their possible importance.

Why not before?

  1. Privacy. For me, the ideal blogging experience would be full or semi-anonymity. I don’t mind if a million people read my work as long as they don’t know who I am. That way you don’t have to worry quite so much about what you say – or who you say it about. If you say something personal, and nobody knows you’ve said it, are you really exposed?
  2. Commitment. The first rule of blogging (like so many things) is consistency at a reasonably high frequency. Which is just scary. What is the right frequency? I can definitely rule out a The Simple Dollar’s 2 posts a day; if I’m overwhelmed as a reader there’s no need to inflict that on anybody else. The short-and-sweet daily posts of Seth Godin or Jessica Gottlieb are almost perfect, but honestly, I’m probably not going to write in that style. What I’d really like to do is Rands In Repose-esque thoughtfulness. But he only posts every 3 weeks or so – not nearly enough, in my opinion, now that I’ve read the entire archive twice – and while I can see why that is absolutely reasonable and necessary, it wouldn’t give me the build-up of momentum I’ll probably need.
  3. Commitment. There’s nothing more pathetic than a blog that’s abandoned and left for years in stagnant loneliness. But the thought of adding this huge, demanding thing to my life for the next three to five or more years (or until the next big thing comes along) was more than a little daunting.

Since objections 2 and 3 were handily defeated by Scott Hulme’s suggestion that I do this as a 52 project – 1 post a week for 1 year – here we are. (Note that I will be doing my 52 project in 54 weeks, which gives me a couple of weeks of “vacation” to be used as needed.)