Some people are good in a crisis. They do their best work then. I’m not one of those people. I actually spend a lot of time avoiding crises. But ten days ago my crisis avoidance planning failed and work on my blog came to a screeching halt. You may have noticed that there was no blog post last week and that this one is late.
I’m in the middle of publishing a book. It’s my first book, so a lot of what is going on is new to me. I’ve delegated the actual publication tasks to an experienced publishing project manager and her team. All I have to do is make choices, review results and sign off on everything. Before hiring the publishing team I made sure there was a well-thought-out plan that showed when I had work to do and when I didn’t. During my down weeks I could devote all of my attention to marketing.
Part of my marketing activity is establishing this blog which will appeal to my target audience, people interested in the problem of getting more women into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. I am also working to become visible to other people and organizations involved in this work. Neither of these activities is a short term effort. Especially since I am starting from almost zero and have very little experience in marketing. But I was making progress; more so on establishing a blog.
Then last month, during the times I wasn’t working on book publishing tasks, I made two decisions which should eventually help my marketing efforts but in the short run added more work. The first decision was to expand my social media platform to include LinkedIn. The second was to enter into an online conversation about the history of women in computers. Entering into this discussion led to another direction change as I found needed to use my blog as part of that conversation.
My first attempts in these two areas didn’t go as planned. It’s not that they didn’t work per se. It was just that they worked in a totally unexpected way. So I had to figure out new next steps. More work to do.
Then my book reappeared in the form of my first print proof.
It should have been a moment of great excitement but I was swamped with too much to do and I couldn’t fully appreciate the moment. At first I tried to work the crisis. Just plug ahead and you can fix things later. Except I couldn’t do that with the book, there is no “later” when you are looking at a print proof. So that work had to be done well.
I could pull back a little from LinkedIn but I had to be careful to not lose all of my momentum. And I tried to continue to write blog posts that supported my online conversation. But I couldn’t. It turned out that there were gaps in my knowledge. Since my reason for entering into the online conversation was to fill in gaps in other people’s knowledge, I had to have my facts in place. And I had no time to do the needed research. Missing one week of blogging is marginally acceptable during a crisis. Missing two weeks is not.
So you are getting a different type of blog post this week. I had made a firm decision not to write about the problems of publishing a book. There are plenty of blogs that do that. But it’s a topic I can write coherently about. Next week I will be back to book reviews and my online conversation will just have to wait until the book is published and I have time to do some serious research.
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