Here's some stuff I've learned. It all sounds obvious. Some lessons we need to learn more than once.
1. Do little stuff.
I've been sweating so much over trying to get big stuff done, I've neglected the little stuff. Learning starts in the detail, and then applies on the big scale.
I learned this especially this summer, when someone I was working with let me down. If you are eager to DO and BE and INFLUENCE, but you won't get stuck into the detail, then you're going to lack the substance and the experience that qualify you as an expert, and validate your opinion. So just do something, for goodness sake.
After all, it's what you do that makes you what you are... but that's one of my storytelling theories, for another time. :-)
2. Use your own voice.
This is so basic for us lot that 'get it,' that as I write it, I get an image of someone banging their head on a wall.
I haven't been able to rise to what felt like the tone TaleCatcher had started carrying. It was taking itself all too seriously, and was too self-important. And I couldn't muster 'quality' all the time, when actually any communication is more reflective and authentic when it captures curiosity and speculation, as well as authority.
And short's good too.
3. Don't write.
I've read so much over the last few months that I forget where I got this advice - probably at Freelance Switch. If you're stuck for writing, make an outline, then don't write, for half an hour at a time. Just poke around on the keyboard about the subject, and actually, you'll find you've made a pretty good start on the subject - by not 'writing' it. The word is so laden with pressure to turn out something of quality that it puts people off.
Just write it down. Get on with it. It doesn't have to be long. And if it isn't any good, well, well done for putting the effort in - now keep going, and learn to make it better.
Create yourself some boundaries, if you need to - for instance, start each paragraph with a letter to spell out a key word. (I once got a piece written that I disagreed with by making the initial letters of each paragraph spell out THIS IS SH*T - which I went back and edited out, after I'd had a giggle with Adam.)
There is freedom within knowing that you've got a structure to support you.
5. Do what you love
I went to CastleFest in September, at Norwich Castle. I met a man who throws stones for a living - making slingshots, catapults, and all sorts of re-creations for medieveal demonstrations. I'll write about him separately. He's an inspiration. It may take a while for people to get it, but you'll be true to yourself, and people will be drawn to you for being authentic, and not what you think everyone wants to see and hear. (The world's got quite enough of same, thank you very much!)
So following all of of my learning above, I'm probably going to be making some changes. Not definitely - I'm still in the speculating place, but writing, to get it out.
For a start I think I'm going to come off Typepad. They charge for blogging, and I haven't been using this platform enough to warrant the cost. I'm now running Wordpress and Blogger accounts elsewhere, and actually I think I'll streamline, probably into a single page to draw all my work and home and everything together.
I'll keep the TaleCatcher word in it somewhere, so you can search for it.
Also I've got a little green and white site where I've been doing what I love, and which I've been polishing up for a while. Seth says 'Don't wait for it to be perfect, just ship it!' He's absolutely right, of course. Just give me a few more days...
You know I feel like I'm sounding a bit more like myself. I bet I'm not the only one who's releived. Phew!