I’m excited to announce that Living The Good Life is now available. It’s a multimedia compilation of 27 of the best and most influential pieces I’ve written over the past four years. I’ll let the offer page do a lot of the explanation of what it’s about, and I hope you’ll check it out by going here.
I’ll spend the rest of this post talking about…
The Life of Living The Good Life
First off, of everything I’ve created thus far, Living The Good Life [LGL] has taken the longest to develop. As much as we all love the creative process, the dev cycle on this one definitely tested my commitment to see the project through.
Where Do I Start Reading? It’s Too Much!
I’ve been advising people for years to compile their ideas into something comprehensive and digestible once they’ve reached a significant point in their content creation careers. It’s so easy for us to continue to create, and to continue to create, and to continue to create – and leave people behind. From the creator’s point of view, the content is already out there and people know about it, but if you’re a new reader to the party, it’s all new. And that can be really overwhelming.
Taking your best work, giving it some order and structure, and making it easy to get is one of the best ways to welcome new readers. There’s one catch: it takes a lot of time. That is, if you want to do it right.
LGL was me taking my own advice since one of the common bits of feedback that I get from new readers is that they’d like to have an easy way to get a lot of the stuff I reference in my written and verbal conversations. It would have been easy to just drop it in a drab design and offer it as a viral freebie, but I wanted to do more.
Let’s Throw In A Little Audio…
I wanted to narrate the pieces, since that was another reader and client request. It’s the audio piece that took the longest amount of time. I’ll be honest and own up that scope and product creep did more than creep up on us – it took over the project.
I had done some audio components in the past for Email Triage, but that was 16 minutes of audio. That’s only a few hours of audio work to process.
All said and done, the edited version of Living The Good Life has 2 hours and 15 minutes or so of audio. That doesn’t count the days of recording and the follow-on days of editing. Nor does it account for the fact that my first batch of recordings were pretty much unusable.
I really appreciate Christy from OnlineSoundAdvice for helping me figure out how to get good, clean, and consistent audio. The good thing about the first recording flop is that it taught me exactly how to do it right for the second recording – and in between the flailing, I also made some design improvements that made LGL much more consumable.
For instance, I was originally going to include the “making of” intros as part of the narrated piece but later determined that it would be better if it was separate. The whole idea was to make it easy for people to pick what they wanted to listen to and tying the intros to the narrations broke that. So, even in the “Ugh!” of having to redo the project, there was a lot of fruit that came from it.
Even with the improvements, though, it still took me a lot of time to edit the audio. Not the fun, explorative kind of time that you read about in all the books on fun entrepreneurship, either – it was more like the “I can make it for another hour” type of time. That’s what it takes sometimes.
The Goodness in Living The Good Life.
Despite the fact that this product has been in active development since last summer, there’s a lot of joy, love, community, and fun in it.
The love and community: A lot of the pieces came from specific conversations with clients, friends, and readers, and being able to re-live those – and speak them – brought back the love and connection in this awesome community. Sure, it doesn’t number in the tens of thousands, but I’ll take quality over quantity any day. Thank you.
The joy of working with others: This was the first time that Team PF got to get really collaborative on this one. Angela spearheaded much of the coordination and moving parts. Megan and Marty from IdeaSchema provided some beautiful designs that captured my vision for the product. Marissa did her Can-Do-Ologist thing and both advised and helped with a lot of the execution pieces. Chris O’Byrne did the delicate job of editing out some of the worst of my grammar flubs and also sequenced the pieces in a way that perfectly fit how I wanted the content to flow. Lisa Wood battened down the hatches on the blog to make sure everything we didn’t have an epic blog fail mid-release.
And then there are the crew of midwives who managed to reorient me when I was about to write the project off. If I named all of you, it would be a total link-a-thon – you know who you are.
The fun: Putting this project together reminded me of the fun of the process. I’m not just talking about the active development of the product, as that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In many ways, compiling it all is just the tip of the iceberg.
The submerged body of the iceberg is a lot of fun exploration, connections, conversations, and creative adventures. In some ways, I returned to the “good old days” when I was just writing. These days are better in a lot of ways AND it’s a lot more complex. That’s just the natural evolution of business, though – later stages carry more complexity.
LGL Is Still Growing
We have some plans for iterations and versions of LGL, and, as normal, we’re adding relevant stuff to it post-release. There’s a method to the madness here, but the short-story is that I’d rather get it to you earlier and add to it than continually dangle it out there in the future. At a certain point, you’ve got to ship, and we’ve had more than enough already.
As creatives, we never know where our work is going to take us until we let go of it and get it out there in the world. If the post-release ride is as fun as the pre-release portion, we all better buckle up. Let’s just make sure to keep our hands in the air. 🙂
Edit 3/30: Megan did a write-up for what it was like on IdeaSchema’s design side of things. Check out Designing The Good Life.