Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great is the enemy of good and other things I learned from blogging

I fidgeted in the chair and reached for the cup of coffee. I took a quick sip and listened to the question. I let it hang in the space between us. I took another sip and I mulled it over. A smile snuck across my face, I settled the cup down, looked directly at the gentleman who could potentially promote me and said:

"If there are two roads
leading to my destination,

Both roads will get me to my
destination at the same time,

One is stalled in traffic,
and the other moving slowly,

I will always choose the road that is moving."

If you're moving there's hope.

I went into my 30 days in a row blogging project with the same thought. Get moving. Do it now. Maybe it won't be perfect, but the practice of contributing each day will get you closer to where you want to be.

If you're moving you may get inventive, prove you own American ingenuity and figure out a better, faster, more efficient way to get to your destination.

Luck might happen.

In my previous posts, I shared snippets of what I learned. It's not about making money, it's about moving along the path of contributing, building your brand, finding your voice. Readers will come if you add something new on a consistent basis.

I discovered I seldom sat down knowing what to write about, but the fact that I managed an editorial calendar--a semblance of a plan--gave me a place to start, a way to move into traffic, even if I was moving slowly. A certain amount of glee arose when I mangled my own calendar by moving things off and giving some a swift kick to infinity when they didn't come together as I'd hoped.


I didn't get any complaints.

I got viewers.

If you try and make a post perfect it will never happen. It's not like print, you're not sending out 50,000 copies with a blatant mistake that you'll regret and beat yourself up for. It's online. It's one page that you can edit over and over and over again. People will help you edit, they'll correct your grammar, they'll leave funny comments, you'll engage, you'll laugh and you'll be part of a virtual community.

Here's what the participating in the virtual community taught me...

Lessons Learned from Blogging:
1. Having a goal means you can measure your success
2. Having a plan, in this case a calendar, gives you direction
3. Mistakes are not forever, community will help you correct them
4. Everyday there is a new deadline
5. You have 24 hours to make the deadline

And there's plenty of do-overs. Not every post was a home run. But as a friend of mine said recently, “Great is the enemy of good.”

Sometimes when we're trying so hard to be great, to seek quality, we forget all that anyone wants from us is to be there, to be present, to be good in the moment, to be good enough. To create something today, so that we have a shot at tomorrow. And maybe, just maybe, while we're striving to be good something great will happen.

Did great things happen for me? Well, when the interview was over, I was not promoted. But the disciplined effort to blog everyday led to local, national, and even international attention.

More on that tomorrow.

If you'd like to read the other posts in the blogging series, try these:

What I learned from Jeremiah Owyang
that allowed me to take down Google*

Tips for blogging everyday

Great is the enemy of good and other
things I learned from blogging

How blogging is like throwing stones

How blogging for 30 days in a row
leads to international acclaim