Pretty much everywhere else, I have been speaking about this e-course of mine from a selling place... telling people what they will be getting and how helpful it could be to them. But this space, this is where I want to talk about the process of things. About the hard parts of making this.
It's been one of the more challenging things I've done in a while, this e-course. I've had to face a whole lot of fears and self-doubts all along the way. You'd think after years of facing such things, it would get easier. Maybe it does, but in the face of more self doubt and fear, it sure doesn't feel any easier!
I think that's the most exhausting part. Trying like hell to stay out of your mind. Waking up in the morning and trying to find the balls to push aside the mind chatter that you will suck royally at this, that no one else cares if you do this, that it's all going to flop, and just do the thing anyway. And then do the same thing the next day, and the next, and the next... with very little reward or proof that it will be any kind of success. That's seriously so much harder than I feel like anyone lets on. It's grueling, to work on your own thing that has so much of your heart in it... to risk putting it out there with no guarantees of what will happen. It's incredibly scary.
I'm finding that once I do start to get into a rhythm with things, the doubts and fears become much quieter though. I don't think they really go away... they sort of settle down and decide to sit and watch you for a while and see what you're up to, which is nice.
The biggest hurdle I have run into thus far with this project is probably the same one I run into with many other projects - and one that we all hit now and again...
getting down to the real work.
I spent about a month preparing a lot of other components... working on the fundraiser, creating graphics, getting email templates set up, creating a sales page that sings beautifully of the course. I breezed through all of that, because it's all the stuff surrounding the REAL thing. When it came time to make content though, I was a deer in headlights.
For two weeks in fact, I was so stuck that I did almost nothing to move this thing forward. I went in to full-on procrastination mode... cleaning the house, working on my website, going for hikes, researching other businessy things that have nothing to do with my current project... all in the name of not writing that content. It was a bitch of a thing to get started on, I tell you!
After a few longer-term creative projects, of various kinds, I have found there does seem to be a natural period of hitting the wall in there. It usually seems to last a few weeks, and be just before the scariest part - naturally! In those weeks, I am generally restless, stressed, beating myself up about not getting "the thing" done day after day, yet some part of me is also saying I need time to settle my feet before I jump. Some part of me tries to tell me to slow down. I probably shouldn't stress about hitting this point, as it always seems that I make it over it within a few weeks time... somehow, I just begin to feel more ready. Or maybe just my discomfort with avoiding becomes greater than I can handle. Probably that. Yeah, it's that.
In those weeks of floundering, I discovered something important though... part of why I hit the wall so badly in the first place. I didn't break things down into small, doable, bits. I had broken out every step of what needed to happen for the initial part of making course, creating a schedule that kept it all on track. When it came to writing the actual course content though, I simply gave myself three or four weeks to make it happen. Somehow I imagined this would just magically work, and all content would get written as needed. What the hell was I thinking?
As soon as I made a daily schedule of what to get done when, I started to see exactly what needed to happen to make a certain due date. Breaking it down daily made everything feel so much more doable, and less giant. With this schedule in place, I dove into the course material now with only minimal fear. So that wall it seems, can sometimes be an indicator that we need to look at the problem or the next steps of the project in a new way.
That lesson is probably so obvious to a lot of people. Someone is probably thinking I am a moron right now for not knowing that. Oh well! It's where I am, and I'm okay with being a little behind on some things, because I know there's a lot of other folks who are too.
This has been a major learning process in how to project plan successfully, and how to do it in a way that works for me and still keeps me motivated and excited about what I'm doing. I don't work on it the same way every day, for example. Some days, like today, I'm up at 7am and get straight to work. Other days, I run errands or spend my mornings refueling with other creative things and start writing in the afternoon. As long as I block out 2-3 hours a day though, I've found myself able to keep on track and stay committed. That schedule has done wonders for holding me accountable and keeping me serious about my work each day.
It's amazing, even before starting this course, others are teaching me. The very act of having to create something to teach others is revealing so much more to me - about grief, and using creativity to heal, and teaching.
Two of the most important things I'm learning about right now are writing for the purpose of teaching, and lesson planning - both are new to me. Even if I don't end up with some wildly successful career hosting e-courses... I know, the skills I'm learning now will continue on with me for years and help me in a myriad of other ventures with my passion to help others learn and grow. In fact, having to sit down every single day and write something for a few hours... I am already beginning to see how one writes a book, in a very tangible way. Maybe the thing that comes out of this will eventually be that it helped me to finally get into writing books, which has been on my list for many years now. Who knows!
For more information about my Meaningful Making E-course, visit the E-Course page here!