Update x5: Live-Blogging Past The Fear: Ze Plan! Ze Plan!

May 24


Ok, so here’s the deal.

There’s this fun, little seriously no-big-deal  offering/thing/whatever that I want to do here on the Circus. But I’ve been stuck in fears about feeling overwhelmed by it, and not being able to follow through.

One way to lessen that concern? Plan ahead, with clear action steps, and do as much of the work as possible ahead of time.

Trouble is – I’m not a big planner.  I don’t like the process of planning, and I don’t much like plans – they feel limiting to me, rather than supportive.  I’m more about the  spontaneous, go-with-the-whims sort of productivity.

So I’m experimenting with spontaneous, go-with-the-whims planning tonight.  I’m going to live blog throughout the evening, as I put together the experimental structure to support this.. thing.. I want to do.  (And if you pay attention, you’ll have a good idea of what the thing is, and why I think it’ll be so much fun)

First Step?

Get prepared. Get the spouse situated with something to eat so he doesn’t distract me.  Get myself something to snack on too. Awesome.  I’ll be back!

Update 1

Ok, here we go. Step one of the actual planning? Divide what needs to be done in sections.

The mini fun thing.

  • Promotional Material
  • Deliverable Development
  • Actual Deliverables
  • The Schedule
  • Follow ups

The not-as-mini still fun thing

  • The offering
  • The actual deliverables
  • Follow ups

Hmm, that works for me so far.

Gotta go check on the chicken I put in the oven!


Now, hmm… Let’s take apart the Promo Material stuff.  (This little project is basically a promotional thing itself, btw, so I need to resist the urge to overdo it)

This won’t be quite in the right order, but that’s ok.

1. Promo Materials

  • An introductory, explanatory, coming soon post
  • The actual offer goes-live
  • A sales page or post with the actual offer
  • Re-tweetable tweets (since I tend to use all 140 characters)
  • A follow up post
  • Illustrations for all of the above.

That worked! Next step..

2. Deliverable Development

  • Selecting potential members of the menagerie
  • Decide how to do the pairing up with the Quirksters
  • Finding photos/drawings of menagerie members as references
  • Basic template
  • Individual drawings
  • Digitizing the drawings
  • Coloring the drawings
  • Assembling the drawing into The Cool Thing.
  • Storing the actual drawings somewhere safe
  • Storing the files somewhere safe, too.

3. Actual Deliverables

  • The individual graphics
  • The accompanying text
  • An email template for sending them
  • The full monty menagerie art & page
  • Prints/Zazzle stuff available? Gauge the interest.

This is still fun. Who knew that I plan better with an audience?

Gotta go see if the chicken is cooled off now. (making chicken salad, too)

Mini Update 2.5:

Storms just got threatening here, so I’m going to focus on staying safe for a bit. Will continue later, assuming I don’t lose power!

Mini Update 2.5.5:

All safe, and all clear…  but the scary weather wore me out!  So that’s it for tonight. More planning tomorrow!


Ok, so..  I’m back!

My best live-blogging intentions were interrupted first by nasty tornado & hailstorms, then the need for sleep.  But we survived, and so it’s back to planning. Let’s see if i can get my groove back…

Where was I? Oh yeah! The Schedule! I’m going to skip dates and times for now, and just focus on the order in which this stuff goes public:

4. The Schedule Order:

  • Day 1: Preliminary coming soon post & Tweets
  • Day 2: Offer/Sales page, Promotional Post, Tweets
  • Day 3: The Display Page of the Fun Thing as it’s built & Tweets
  • Day 5: Follow up Post & Tweets
  • Day 6: Follow up emails  for the participants 😉
  • Day 7: Announcement of the ongoing related offer thing
  • Day 9: Fine Tune final offer sales page thingy
  • From then on: Slowly deliver on the full offering thing.

This is a lot more complicated than expected, and in some ways, I know I’m overdoing it.  I may simplify this as I work through it, but..  this is actually more complicated than I thought.  No wonder I couldn’t just “throw it together” and I had concerns about being able to keep up…  to do it right, it’s a week of publishing, which means a lot of prep work!

Cleary, I tend to underestimate the complexity of stuff.

I’ve also gotten some cool inspirations & clarifications on the idea while planning.


The next section I listed was “Follow ups”, but maybe it should be entitled “Follow throughs”? This is the bit I’m afraid I won’t do, which “isn’t how you run a business”.   I can feel the tension and fear and gremlins-in-the-belly feeling that’s triggered just by typing around it’s edges.

Deep breaths.

So, the first “follow through” is not just getting the offer up, but standing behind it, and staying enthused about it. As enthused as I would be about someone else’s product, when I’d personally found it solved huge problems for me, and I was 110% behind it. (Yes, I know. Impossible percentage. It’s hyperbole, so hush!)

(Which, btw, brings me to what I want for my readers fans and peers… I want you and your things to be at such a place of incredibleness *for me personally* that I’ll be behind them 170%, and can’t keep my mouth shut about them. Ok, back to planning.)


  1. Present with a flourish!
    Get the offer up.
    Stand behind it confidently and with enthusiasm.
    Check. Got it.
  2. Produce miracles from your magic hat!
    Produce the mini-digital-deliverable thingies confidently, with happyhappyjoyjoy absurdity.  In a timely manner, but without freaking or killing yourself.   Circus fans don’t want a neurotic ghost for a ring-mistress.  I don’t need to do a poll to be pretty sure of that.
  3. Put the community front and center!
    Put together the public thingamabobber display page to feature the community members and the wack-ed-ness of it all.  This is the point, remember? Community.  Sharable. Fun.  Stay open to fun extras to add to the display page. Spend extra time on polishing it.
  4. Individual thank yous for participants.
    Fun ones. Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. And yes, if I’d create a damn mailing list, that’d help 😉
  5. Present the full offer, with flourishes, pride and enthusiasm. My people deserve that. This is a fun thing, and if I’m all selfconscious about it, it takes the fun out. If people feel like they have to prop up my confidence, that takes the pure fun out of it.
  6. Repeat. Lather. Rinse!

And another note:

Remember to put a link to the thing in the sidebar, post footers (RSS too!) and change the top menu to allow for a shop.

There. That wasn’t so hard. I only hyperventilated six times 😉

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The last section is about the not-so-mini offering – and honestly? It’s optional.  Sure, if I did things “right”, the whole point of this would be to promote and sell the bigger, more expensive thing.

But honestly, I’m not ready to face that yet.  So on that bit, I think I’ll play it by ear. See how I feel.

The plan?  Write up no more than a simple paragraph, with the price and a description.  Stick it on the offering page. See how it goes.  Put it at a big enough discount that if I stumble, it’ll be ok.  Really.

The mini, super fun version should give me a good idea of what will be doable for a “real” version, and what it’s benefit will be.

In other words, don’t fret about it yet.  But make it possible for people who are interested to sign up.

The Next Step?

The doing.  Not sure yet if I’ll live-blog that, or not.  I need a break before I decide, but I’d like to at least give some sneak peaks into it!

As for how I’m going to accomplish the doing, well…. not in any sort of order, that’s for sure!  I’ll probably start with the “Deliverable Development” section, break it into clearer action steps, and do them one at a time, since that’s where the actual fear is centered…

For now, I need a serious break away from this computer and all the plannings.  Even so, I think you can expect more soon, Quirkiteers!It's Another Flourish!


  1. It’s interesting to watch you process through all of this when I don’t know what the “it” is yet. This might be a brilliant new marketing tactic to get people hooked before you even do the work. *taking notes here*

    • It’s not 100% new (nothing really is, of course). Production Diaries (i.e. watch-the-process blogs) are fairly common in indie comics and animation as these sorts of projects require a WHOLE lotta lead-time and the worst thing for sales is for fans to “forget” you between issues or episodes (or even leading up to the first one). It can be quite effective in building up your audience.

      • Tori Deaux /

        They’re common with artists, too – as you said, it gives people something to watch, and get invested in – as well as making the artist seem more human and fleshed out.

        But in this case, it really IS more about trying to work out a system, than building an audience for the “thing” – cause I’ve got to get past this launch-block!

    • Tori Deaux /

      Ahhhh you’re onto my evil secret plans! 😉

      Actually, I consider this sorta thing “accidental marketing”. Because of the way my model is put together, and that my core message is built on walking-the-talk, (or stammering-the-stumble) everything I do feeds back into the core message. It’s a handy thing, that way!

  2. I think I have an inkling of what the ‘it’ is… Will wait and see if I’m on the right track 🙂

    Oh, and I love planning, though I like to do mine alone, without an audience–the extra chatter tends to distract me–but I also like seeing how others plan, so this is really cool 🙂

    • Tori Deaux /

      I’m curious to know if you’re right, too (since it seems to be shifting some as I plan!)

  3. I just caught up with the latest installments.

    FWIW, I think the most important step is “Repeat. Lather. Rinse!” Make sure you don’t miss that step! 🙂