Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Without change there is no movement

fall_grassThis is the end of the third quarter of 2009. Autumn is coming upon us and like the wetlands grasses going from greens to grays that remind us of seasonal changes we need to remember that transition is marked by visible changes as well. Now seems a good time to commit to and make known some changes I am working on. The plans aren’t yet final so this is a preliminary notice.

These upcoming changes will be broad but narrow. That sounds contradictory but what it means is that the small changes I am preparing to make occur in multiple areas. The areas where I anticipate these changes will take place are how and where I blog, expanding my freelancing, and developing a long term community project that hopefully will eventually be both online and on the ground. If I want to move forward and mature as a writer, community developer, and influence people’s lives then I have to change how I do some of the things I am currently doing.

In the beginning...

When I started this blog I wanted to write and be read regularly, develop my writing voice, and improve the quality of my writing while building an online portfolio (blog archives). I have been writing on and off that my long term plan is to expand my freelancing beyond a weekly column in the local paper. But I have also been scouting and trying out different niches to anchor my text and authority, to find my audience, and to create a project that would support others and would have the potential to outlast me.

I don’t have all the details worked out yet. One of the things that I struggle with is balancing between knowing enough and striving for a perfect plan. The longtime readers and supporters here are only too aware of the weight of this issue. What I have been struggling to come to terms with is that plans can be perfect as long as they stay in the planning stage.

Taking a chance on imperfection...

In a perfect scenario I would follow all the advice of the blogging, marketing, business-building gurus and get a domain, and hosting, and take a crash course in WordPress self-hosted version, and figure out SEO, and whatever else is on the optimal list for working online. I have a far from perfect scenario. I’m not even certain that my scenario qualifies as good enough but the inner prompting is that I should start anyway and *gulp* improvise.

I wrote last Thursday about Madson’s book Improv Wisdom. In that post I wrote about getting to “yes.” For me one of the issues with getting to a yes in my plans to expand my freelancing is the backward planning and getting past the intermediary “no’s.” Madson addresses this issue in the next three of her maxims of “don’t prepare,” “just show up,” and “start anywhere.” One of her mantras is “ready-fire-aim” meaning just move out, use whatever the world makes available at the moment and improvise. But it is hard to choose to risk looking messy and making mistakes when feel I have marginal credentials; it is hard to risk throwing further credibility away.

Learning to be okay with less control...

The one thing I am starting to realize is that if I keep trying to shore up the scaffolding for the perfect scenario I will never get my ideas off the planning table and I’ll never know if it will ever work. That may save me from failure but I will never know; and as scary as it is, that need to know is the driver behind just doing it. So, even if I have to make a lot of adjustments to what is after I set out, it seems the only way to find out if any of this will work is to just jump in and start doing it.

So, is there anyone else who has recently made a significant change or planning to make one soon? Did you create a minute plan or are you taking the “step on the stage and improvise” approach?

I haven't been posting on Tuesdays recently, but part of my plan is to increase my posting frequency and I hope to make Tuesdays a regular day.

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