So the experiment with WordPress went pretty well, getting that site up and running with… I was going to say a “minimum of fuss,” but that’s not entirely true. I ended up writing my own simple gallery plug-in because the simple gallery plug-ins that existed weren’t very good, and I’ve since found a bug in WP 1.5. (I’ve documented it on their support forums but so far I haven’t found a bug tracking system I can actually file a ticket in!)
Doing this, though, has led me to a bit of a re-assessment of what drives me. Simply put—and in retrospect, this should have been obvious to me, and it’s probably obvious to everyone around me—I’m more interested in building things than in running things.
I’m not a great programmer, but I genuinely enjoy programming (despite the bouts of screaming frustration). Similarly, the most enjoyable things about magazine work for me have to do with layout first, editing second and business a distant third. And Claw & Quill is unfortunately teaching me that I’m not much of an editor/publisher even on the web—building the site was a lot of fun, but my enthusiasm for the ongoing work has been limited, and I can’t completely write that off to my short attention span. (I can write off some of it to that, since when I get obssessed with a new project I tend to let old ones slide more than I should.)
I have to face reality: things are slow with it because I’m putting time and money into something I’m not particularly enjoying. As much as I think the fandom needs something like C&Q out there, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I’m the right person to do it, certainly on my own.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on C&Q, although it may mean I’m going to start looking for help with it. At this point I’m not sure how I’ll attempt to divide duties; having someone act as a front-line editor and someone else handle finding art would help. Really, having someone handle the business side and just leaving me as executive editor and webmaster would be ideal. However, I expect the funding will continue basically being me, so I’m probably stuck as the guy doing the contracts.
But this is a larger thing than just C&Q; it has some implications for what I should be doing with my life.
Okay, that’s a really broad statement, I understand. But I think everyone has things that they enjoy and things that they’re good at, which are generally non-identical but overlapping sets. It’s difficult to do something you’re good at but don’t enjoy unless you’re getting (sufficiently) paid for it. Conversely, something you enjoy but aren’t particularly good at is something you probably won’t get paid for—even though it may make a pleasant enough hobby.
The thing about the “sweet spot” where the two sets overlap is that it contains both the best hobbies and the best career paths. I’m not sure what direction this points me in for either one, but I’ll be thinking more on it. shaterri said yesterday that I’m a tinkerer, which is pretty accurate. What kind of hobbies and work does that lead to? I’ve established that my muse has NADD, but even after all this time, I’m not 100% sure what her strengths are. I’m still possessed by the desire—sometimes a need, no less—to create things. But that desire might be met by designing and rolling out a web site, or creating a new program. (No, I haven’t given up on the CMS idea, I’m afraid, but more about that later, perhaps.)
And, you know, I’m just a few years from forty, so it’d be good to get a headstart on my midlife crisis!