Ah, a quiet Saturday morning. The Great April Fool's Day FridayFlash Blog Swap is now a happy memory, although as of this writing I still have a number of stories to read and comment on. It was fun, it was interesting, and people had a good time.
But, of course, that's not enough. That's never enough. Every experience, the great ones the banal ones and the sucky ones, every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow, if you're willing to invest a little time and thought in an after action report. So what did I learn from organizing the GAFDFFBS?
1. It's easy to get Friday Flash authors to volunteer for fun writing things.
2. It's hard to get some Friday Flash authors to even remember having volunteered for fun writing things, let alone read the FAQ on how to carry it off, or meet their deadlines.
3. The logistics of setting something like this up aren't really all that hard. The tricky bit is communication with the participants.
4. No matter how much promotion you do, no matter how much of a pest you make of yourself in the initial call for authors, no matter how open and encouraging you are, no matter how repeatedly you remind people of the deadlines to sign up, you will still get people who want to sign up late AND you will get other people who, on the day of the event, will say, "Wow, this sounds really cool. I wish someone had said something about it in time for me to participate."
5. Whatever happens, don't take it personally. It's not about you. Probably.
6. As projects go, this was pretty straightforward. I linked people up and let them do their thing, providing instruction, encouragement and enthusiasm as necessary.
7. Where problems can be solved simply, simple solutions are the best.
8. Where problems CAN'T be solved simply, there is no substitute for hard work and creativity.
9. Empathy, proactive kindness and understanding are essential human qualities. Don't ever let someone tell you that the work is more important than the people. Projects come and go... people live on.
10. Color-coding of cells in Excel is a good way to reassure yourself of a project's status. As blank white shifts gradually to yellow, then green, it will seem that no problem is insurmountable.
11. Some problems are insurmountable. For those, you work hard, do your best, run it flat out right up to press time, then freeze the project and go to press. If it's still broken when it all goes live, paper over it with a smile and do better next time.
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