To continuously learn what you’re doing wrong

FRIDAY, 29 APRIL 2011

An Internet marketer whose advice I occasionally follow writes in the article, “Sheena was a man”*, why most people who try to “Internet market” fail. I read the piece like one who knew very well he was the intended target audience.

She also refers to Merlin Mann’s excellent article, “Cranking”, and a good article by Ed Dale entitled, “Burn the ships and Hail Mary’s”*.

After a few minutes I came to the realisation that what I am also doing, with my commercial projects that are supposed to be generating income, is “cranking” – like Merlin Mann’s mother that constantly cranked her husband’s hospital bed in a hopeless attempt to make him a little more comfortable. I’m constantly learning, constantly messing things up, constantly motivating myself to keep going. My efforts fall flat at regular intervals, and every time I have to pull myself up by the collar.

I know why I do these things. I have to make money, because it’s unfair to expect of my partner to cover most of our household expenses, and for her to ride out to a business day after day to do a job for which she has long lost any motivation. I have to make money for myself, for a better life, and to ensure that the woman I love does not suffer on a daily basis because of me.

Yet, again, I cannot fail to see the difference between what I call “business” and my writing projects. With the latter, it’s like getting into a car that stands idle for months at a time gathering dust under a tree. I’ll shoo away the pigeons that have nested on the roof, lift the dog from the driver’s seat, turn the key … and a second later the car will pull away like a recently overhauled seventies model sports car, tyres screeching. I don’t need pep talks to motivate myself. I don’t need to read informative articles about what I do wrong, and what I should do to get back on track. I don’t need to crank anything up.

I constantly tweak my material; I never crank. I waste little time with my writing projects. I know where I’m heading. I see in my mind’s eye the end result, and I pursue this vision. I don’t get to a point where I’m unsure of what I should do next. I don’t lose my way.

The reality, however, is that I have to make money. I have to make money not for status or luxury, but to better take care of myself. I have to make money to provide assistance to my partner’s attempts to bring about a better life for herself.

Because I need to make money for the right reasons, I’m compelled to occasionally learn what I do wrong, and to constantly try to better my efforts.

The hope, in the end, is that I’m not merely making cosmetic changes to what at times appears to be a rather hopeless situation.

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* These articles are not available online anymore.

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