06 October 2007

Impact re-evaluation

These have been a challenging series of weeks, balancing reality against my self-image. The reality checks have been harsh but liberating.

When the AJ2 poll/census revealed that the Yahoo Group was about 1/10 active, I was surprised but not shocked. This week, I made a similar (albeit unplanned) discovery at AJmarketing, which I will talk about in a few days. In the meantime, I'm checking my stats, re-examining my goals, and so on.

What I'm looking at right now is this: I don't make much money as Aisling. Not really. (Most of my work is under another name.) That's fine. Awhile ago, I realized that what I do as "Aisling D'Art" is about sharing my enthusiasm for making art. My goal is to encourage others to express themselves creatively, too. So, it's okay if I don't make much money at it; that's not why I do this.

But, if I'm also not making much impact... well, maybe it's time to let the existing body of work remain online for people to enjoy, but quit putting so much time and effort into the Aisling stuff. Maybe I've said as much as I need to.

I'm reminded of something that SARK said: Sometimes the few pages or paragraphs that you read in a bookstore are all that you need to get out of a particular book. Maybe you don't need to buy it. (I do that often. I read a little bit in a book, get all excited about it, buy the book... and the rest of the book turns out to be ho-hum. I'd read everything that I needed to in the bookstore.)

So, maybe--as Aisling D'Art--I've said as much as people need to read/hear, to get excited about personal creative expression. I'm not sure.

One of my decisions will be about my podcasts. I've been podcasting for over a year now. When my new mic arrived about two weeks ago... well, I recorded new podcasts daily for most of the past ten days. That was a chance to play with the mic. Each recording was an experiment and involved slightly different settings. (The podcast content was pretty much off the top of my head.)

I'm not sure if I'm going to make those podcasts weekly or monthly.

See, after listening to an illuminating interview with Seth Godin about his new book,
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), it's like a whole lot more lights turned on for me. (The quality of that recording is perfectly awful, btw. Listen to it anyway. Parts of it are so important, I listened to them three or four time each.)

I've been getting progressively more ruthless about cutting activities from my schedule in favor of doing what I really want to. It's not easy for me, but part of that may be about an illusory self-image.

I'll be at B&N when it opens this morning, to buy a copy of Godin's book. Then, I'll be reading it and checking my various stats (website visitors, income, etc.) before making further decisions... but the signs look fairly clear right now.

I never had a business plan for my websites. They each grew out of hobbies and a general need to express myself and connect with others. One reason was because, at that time, my marriage was crumbling. I needed to do something that felt like it was valuable to others. (So, Godin's blog post, The Reason, really resonated with me.) I never intended any of my earlier sites to become businesses, per se.

Each of them spawned more websites, and... now I have this empire of sites and Yahoo Groups and stuff. Ten+ years later, I'm wondering how much of this is inflated self-image, how much is filling a genuine need, and how much is simply unconscious momentum.

The bookstore opens in half an hour. I've already started gathering my numbers to chart where I've been, where I am now, and what to expect if I keep doing what I'm doing.

I'll have more to say after the weekend.

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Blogger Barb said...

Oh no! You're quitting just as I found you! Reading what you're experiencing, though, I can understand completely. There's a natural life to things and sometimes you can drain your life, spiritually, by continuing to do things that no longer bring you energy or joy. It's like dragging a corpse around with you wherever you go. The dead weight just isn't what you need.

I want to thank you for as much of your insight as I've been able to absorb up until now. I'm 51 years old, my child is nearly grown and for me, as well, it's time for "something else". I'm thinking that I have some things to say--to myself, more than anybody else, and you've helped me begin to say them. You are helping with my rebirth--perhaps even by being witness to *this* transition in your life.

Do what you need to do for you. It's too short a life not to. Use your energy in what makes you the most joyful. Thank you for all you've given.


9:48 AM  
Blogger Aisling said...

Thank you, Barb! Your heartfelt words mean a lot to me. And, you are exactly right.

1:20 PM  

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