As readers of the blog may know, getting this site up and running has been a long and drawn out affair with endless false starts and many technical lurches. I have entered, re-entered, checked, lost the plot and rehashed a few times.
The easy way to have set up the site would have been to have bought / subscribed to a shiny bit of software or shop service and I would be earning as I type. That would be too simple, and also potentially limiting in the long term. We are building a site that offers huge flexibility and has SEO (search engine optimisation) built into the fabric of the design. (I will update this blog honestly to tell you if this strategy pays off.)
I have learnt so much along the way, how to think around issues and how, most importantly, to think like a computer. Now tell me, did you ever think that would be an attribute? I have gone from aspiring to be broad minded to thinking binary.
The one sanity crutch that I have had is my Masterplan. Everything, yes, everything gets added to a spreadsheet that links all ideas together. Years ago I was trained by M&S buyers on their fool proof administration systems and it still works for me.
Initial brainstorming went down on the masterplan with ideas, thoughts and 'lets pick up on this later' entries; this was formatted into a schematic. Next, the all important key words were added on another sheet, built into phrases, then linked with the schematic. Then text was linked then references overlaid. Any information I needed was saved in this hallowed masterplan. It is a spiders web of sheets, building up ideas, contacts, references and text.
When things go wrong this has been critical! Lost a whole heap of data? no problem, it is saved in there. Three months down the line forgotten the rationale for a then important decision, again, refer to the plan and the confusion unravels.
Does this mean that I have a spotless desk and a cross referencing filing system? Well, if dusty piles intermingles with toys and half working pens is spotless - erm, no, I think I can safely say my desk is NOT spotless. However, if you have a methodical framework then you are more prepared for the chaos that inevitably gets thrown at you by life. How am I sure? Check any Mum's handbag: it may look random but that fruit bar with a rumpled wrapper and the scuffed pencils at the bottom have been known to salvage a bleak outlook. Okay, that analogy is not thinking like a computer, but it does illustrate that having lots of useful stuff to hand can save the day provided it is in a format you can cope with.