I have been working on a project every now and then for a couple of years. An hour here, an afternoon there. It is something I have been meaning to do.
I am putting together a collection of the "best of" posts for Management Craft. This August, this wee blog will begin its 9th year. That is nearly a gazillion in internet years. And in the 8 years I have been blogging, a few predictable tones and hues keep popping up. I would not have seen this so clearly had I not taken on this project.
BTW, one reason why I have not done this sooner is that 8 years is a long time and I have done thousands of posts. I downloaded a complete backup of the blog as a Word document and it was 6,000 pages long. Really. I took one look at that and concluded it would take me another 8 years to find and sift through all my posts.
So I abandoned the project due to overwhelm.
From time to time, I thought about other ways to approach it. A friend suggested focusing on only the last 3 years since one would assume that my writing has improved and therefore the best posts are recent ones. Buoyed by this idea, I went to the 6,000 page document and whacked off the first 5 years. Much better, but still over 1,000 pages long.
So I abandoned the project due to overwhelm.
A week ago I went for a 3 mile walk around Memorial Park here in Houston. It was early in the morning but still very hot. My mind was drifting and feeling fuzzy and I think I started hallucinating part way through because this "best of" book seeped into my brain and would not leave.
Eureka! I thought of a way to find the best posts and get this thing rolling. At last I did not feel overwhelmed.
I am doing the final massaging of the collection and figuring out what it will all look like. I have picked only those posts that I think have the potential to be game changers for readers. Not all of them for all people all the time, but the posts that are catalytic in some way.
There are about 70 posts that I am including. 70 unique posts that feel like they belong together. They feel the same even though the messages run the gamut. They are kin. They are all about personal reinvention. I did not seek to pick 70 posts about personal reinvention, I picked the 70 posts that I felt were my best and it turns out that they all touch on this theme. Geared toward managers, sure, but about how we constantly hone who we are to make something happen.
Apparently I am obsessed with this idea of reinvention even though I had not recognized this. Today I got an email from a reader relating to yesterday's post that said, "Lisa, you are writing the most wonderful, pure-pursuit messages for real living these days. Thank you. My hat's off to you!!" Thanks Allan, I guess I am still singing the same tune.
BTW #2: Once I noticed the underlying theme of personal reinvention, the title for the collection popped right into my head. It will be called,
Never-Ending New Beginnings: A Manifesto on Personal Impact
The Very Best from the Management Craft Blog 2004-2012
What do you think? It ties in with my personal logo, you can see that here. I will let you know once I have the best of collection loaded up into Lulu.com and available. I am self-publishing this one because it is a labor of celebration more than anything. Not something I want to hand over to a publisher's red editing pen.
A bit of irony: Given the size of the archive I selected the posts from, this book - arguably the easiest one to write because the posts were already written - has taken longer and more work than the books I have written from scratch.
Another bit of irony: This collection holds together better than many of my books that have been planned, plotted, outlined, and vetted from the beginning. Perhaps our spontaneous mind is the most ordered.
Because I have this blog, I can easily - well not easily - look back and see my patterns. See my themes. See the tune I sing the most. The idea that I return to and practice. My fellow blogger pal Dick Richards wrote a great book Is Your Genius at Work several years ago. In the book he helps you discover your driving force and then use it. Perhaps this process has helped clarify that for me. You might try it checking out this book, as my process takes too long! Funny, even though I have typed his name dozens of times over the years I am just now noticing that he has two of the same names - Richard Richard. I digress.
And since I am digressing, I highly - HIGHLY - recommend this TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the mega best-seller Eat, Pray Love). In her talk, she asks and answers the question about how one should approach her work when her most successful creation is likely behind her. It is a wonderful way to look at personal creativity and how we can approach our work in ways that battle our self-imposed barriers. I have watched this talk many times and still love it. And, yes, it is about personal reinvention.