02.14.17 Project Status Update

As of today I’m on time based on steps I need to take to turn in our taxes by mid-March.

In a few cases I needed to print statements I thought were already printed but that didn’t take too much time.

It also looks like we have all the 2016 reports like W-2s and interest statements which will make it easier to compile documents.

I’m happy about being on time with taxes because this isn’t my favorite project. The sooner I complete it, the sooner I can move on to something that’s more fun.

11.30.16 Project Status Update

over_their_head

Yesterday, when I sat down, pen in hand to edit the how to article I’ve been working on since late October, I found myself rewriting paragraphs and in one instance, deleting out an entire page.

When edits are this extensive, there’s a larger underlying issue—often structural in nature. In this case, I realized that my How-to article was actually several separate how-to articles. Not only did I have multiple articles, the articles had different audiences: some technical and some general.

For example, one audience to whom I was writing were people looking for good gift ideas. Another audience were crafters. And another were people who wanted to do something using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

I now understand why I’ve felt so much resistance finishing my article.

Crap.

So I’ve been thinking about how to move forward and here’s what I decided:

  1. I’m going to proof read what I’ve written and break the article into separate blog posts so it’s easier to navigate. Then I’m going to publish what I’ve written knowing it’s a mashup that may not work for any one group of readers.
  2. I’ve made notes of my ideas on how I can rework different parts of the article as future possibilities.
  3. I’m going to call this project complete and move on to other things I want to do.

I considered several other possibilities but at this point completion is what feels best. There are projects that feel more compelling and I generally like to go where I feel the most energy.

Although completion feels best, it still doesn’t feel great. I feel like the guy in the picture here who has tried fixing his computer, has removed lots of pieces, and isn’t sure how to put it back together again. Rather than replace the pieces he’s just throwing the pieces back, and putting on the lid, and calling it “done.” That’s how I feel about this project.

I’ll be writing a Creator Moment of Truth post as well and will probably have more insights on what I’ve learned.

11.28.16 Project Update

askwhy

I didn’t spend much time working over the last 10 days because my family was at home and I wanted to enjoy being with them…particularly my son who has been in Asia for most of the year.

It felt luxurious to listen to my son’s stories and observations without feeling the pressure of having to get something done.

With this project being so close to completion I’m surprised by how little motivation I feel to do the last few steps. I’m not entirely sure why I feel so resistant to doing these last steps.

I made commitments in my writing support groups that I would complete the article this week as a way to hold myself accountable.

While I intend to meet this commitment, it hasn’t given me much in the way of energy or motivation.

In the Creative Process, Robert Fritz talks about using the structural tension between our goal and current reality as a “little engine” that moves us forward. He has also talked about how, as structural tension lessens, our drive to do the work also lessens. I’m wondering if the reduction in structural tension accounts for my loss of interest.

Something I’m doing as a way to increase structural tension is to create a more exciting image of the goal. Although I think my written description of the desired outcome in this project is good; certainly good enough to get me to 95% complete, I’m needing something more to do that final 5%.

I like visuals a lot. Sometimes a picture really does capture more than words alone. So for my daily creation I’m drawing a picture of what the finished product will look like. I’ve also included some marketing copy to reinforce the benefits of the article to my intended audience and the benefits to me when it’s completed.

Here’s my goal in a more concrete visual

the-perfect-gift

I consider this project a success when I’ve completed all the steps in my action plan. Whether an audience responds will be something I study and learn from but not something on which my self esteem rests.

11.10.16 Update

I’ve finished the second written draft of my how to article.

Next thing to do an editorial pass and document the following:

  • Changes to make to the text to make the article easier to use assuming no major changes to the content.
  • Changes I would make if I were to do a major update.

Some observations:

  • Maybe someone should take all the graphic applications off my mac. I write this half-jokingly. Nothing swallows me whole in terms of time spent like messing around in Photoshop and Illustrator. Nothing.
  • I surrender! I’m going to purchase an Adobe Illustrator subscription. I would love to become more adept using a free or inexpensive piece of software but Illustrator is the standard language most designers speak.. It’s easier to find classes and get help.

specific Next steps:

  • Print the article as it is currently on WordPress.
  • Make final changes.
  • Publish
  • Send to writing group buddies for feedback.

Insights

As I’ve put together this article I’ve gotten a lot of idea for things I would like to do to make the article more useful to an audience. A limitation that keeps bugging me is my lack of skill when it comes to creating the right images. I’ve already written about this issue and possible solutions. It’s just worth noting that I often like to use images when I’m explaining a concept or giving step by step instructions. I find the right image can take results-based content from “meh” to “yeah!”

One of my continuing challenges is to resist the temptation to raise the bar on my goal as I have ideas for improving the outcome.

I’ve been blowing off my daily creations lately and want to get back into that routine. I guess I’d like to find some objects that are a little more interesting than silver <grin>.

I recently purchased Robert Fritz’ book “The Path of Least Resistance for Managers” and am looking forward to getting into the material. I’m finding that the Creating Your Life course is great for personal project where I’m the main player. I’m curious, however, how do you apply these ideas when you’re working on something which depends on a group of people working together toward a common objective.

11.05.16 Update

I’m close to complete on the How-to article. I estimate I have 2-3 hours remaining in writing the article. Some observations about the goal and current reality:

  • My goal was to create a how to article for DIY-type people searching for good gift ideas. They could follow the steps I lay out in the article to create what I’m calling a “Story Card Book.”
  • I’ve followed all the steps I laid out in my Action Plan. This is a good thing!
  • I have realized with the benefit of time and emotional distance that the article gets bogged down in technical details. Some people may care about how I enlarged the card face image. Most won’t. In my next draft I’ll expand on areas of general interest.

I’m now working with a small group of writers and have the benefit of their feedback. Although this project was to be one I could do without the input or permission of other people, involving people in this type of project would have been an advantage. That may be a guidelines I don’t follow in my next project.

I’m going to publish the first version of my article because I’m sure there are people who will find it helpful. I have a commitment currently to publishing my work rather than sitting on it because it isn’t perfect.

10.15.16 Project Update

After reviewing the How to document and identifying places where the article would be improved by an illustration or diagram I’ve identified 18 possible images to create. This is more than I anticipated.

I enjoy creating images but I’m wondering what the effect will be on my timeline.

I’m going to take another pass at the list of illustrations to see what I could create and make the 10.23.16 deadline.

Here’s a pdf file showing the Structural Tension Chart as of today: 10.15.16 Structural Tension Chart