Email to the Contributors about the Workflow
For the sake of preserving the record, I here publish an email sent on August 5, 2016:
This is long. I've chunked it for ease of reading.
## Look for Multiple Emails
We are nearing the launch date. So if you are going to be a Writer, Proofreader, or Caretaker for The Kindling, you will be receiving several emails over the next few days.
Some of those emails will be like this one (explaining things); some of those emails will contain links that you need to click on in order to get into Squarespace (the service hosting the site) or Google Drive (where the files will be stored, edited, and used for posting).
## Check Your Spam
Monitor your spam folders. Because these emails will be coming from email accounts different from this one (for example, I'm going to start using email@example.com for explanatory emails such as this).
## Make Sure I Have Your Preferred Email Address
If you want me to send official Kindling emails to an email address different from the one I am currently using, please let me know immediately (i.e., after you read this), before I begin entering emails into Google Drive and Squarespace.
Bear in mind that your email will need to be shared with everyone working on The Kindling, so that Proofreader and Writer and Caretaker can all collaborate.
## It's Not Too Late to Join
Some of you who are receiving this current email are not signed up as a Writer, a Proofreader, or a Caretaker.
This is the final email you'll be receiving from me on Kindling business (I'm refining the mailing list). I'm sharing with you the attached document about the workflow, in case you've been waiting for more detail about operations before deciding to commit or not.
If you're thinking of joining at this stage, remember: you don't need to be a Writer to be a Proofreader; but you do need to be a Writer to be a Caretaker.
Come on board.
## The Workflow 1.0
About the attached document: I've done my best to lay out a workable system for getting posts out of lots of different peoples heads and on to one single website, without creating too much of a burden on any one person.
Doubtless, it can be improved. And it will be. But there needs to be a process before the process can be improved. So bear in mind that it's version 1.0.
Read the workflow document. If at any point it's confusing to you, please email me for clarification or (what may be better) call me at 602 363 5064. Much can be cleared up with a quick phone call.
## If It Seems Like Work...
Also, some of you may read the workflow document and think, "Damn, Hanson. That seems like work, man. I thought this was just a fun blog thing you were doing."
There will be some work involved (writing is work, and collaborating with 30+ people is work), but the work should be fairly simple and quick (depending on your style) once the process has been grasped and implemented.
If reading it gives you get cold feet and feel tempted not to proceed, call me. I'm confident that cold feet can be warmed.
## Access to Google Drive Will Come in a Day or Two
The workflow document mentions another document: a format example.
That format example is stored on the Google Drive that will be used for The Kindling. Writers, Caretakers, and Proofreaders will be granted access in the next day or two, once I have a quasi-finalized list of (1) who those people will be and (2) the emails they actually want me to use.
## Please: More Proofreaders and Caretakers
Finally, I want more Proofreaders and I want more Caretakers. Please consider serving as a Proofreader. Please consider serving as a Caretaker.
The Caretaker role is not work-intensive (see the attached workflow document); its biggest demand is the potential for the emotional labor of dealing with something that is clearly problematic (which I continue to believe is a theoretical but unrealistic possibility in the current group of contributors). I don't think that potential will be actualized much. So a lot of the Caretaker role is merely being present. (We have about 4 or 5 right now.)
The Proofreader role is more work-intensive, but need not be a major time suck. A Proofreader is offering suggestions, *not* ensuring that a document conforms to published standards or will be a highly polished literary success. You're checking for commas and confusing sentences. And the more Proofreaders we have, the less work for every individual Proofreader. (We have 5 or 6 right now.)
If neither of those roles is your jam, that's fine. Don't feel guilty. But if you're willing to step up, take the step.
## Assignments for Proofreaders and Caretakers
After people respond to my plea, and the Caretaker and Proofreader volunteers come flooding in, I'll divvy up the work of the Caretakers and the Proofreaders on the schedule. So look for that soon.
A Proofreader will be working with a Writer for an entire Season, so there's the opportunity for getting to know someone well.
A Writer will work with a Caretaker only if the Caretaker happens to be assigned to the Writer's week for posting, so there's the opportunity for working with a variety of people.
## If All Else Fails...
If for whatever reason you get stuck (a link won't work, the next step in the process is unclear, you can't figure out how to switch from Editing to Suggesting in Google Docs, you don't know how to move a document into a new foler in Google Drive, or whatever), just get a draft written and get it to your Proofreader and your Caretaker for review via email. That's the essence of the process.
Problems can be solved later. The goal is simple: you write, it gets posted. Don't let process problems keep you from the fundamental act: you writing.
The Jubilee lies in the future. I think it would be wise (and awesome) to have a launch party much sooner.
I'm thinking that the launch party should happen right after the first Cycle finishes. Then everyone has something up on the site and we all get to know each other better over beer, wine, tamales, etc. Optional, of course.
More on that later.
## Lizard Brain
I've seen some of the initial material that will be posted. It's good stuff. It's an honor to have it, really.
I also suspect that some people may see it posted and be tempted to think something like, "Oh my gosh. That's so good. I can't write something that good. I should quit."
To which I respond: "Poppycock." (Or "Balderdash.").
That's your lizard brain talking. The part of our brain that keeps us from moving when we get nervous. Don't let your lizard brain predominate. Write something and ship it.
Everyone can write. Everyone has something to say. The point of The Kindling is to get eveyone to write their something to say.
If you're not writing elegant and lofty essays, that's fine. I myself currently favor the homely brevity of the mini-blog, with short sentences and lists (e.g., "I like this Netflix show for the following reasons: 1. It's funny. Etc.").
So if you're ever tempted to give in to your lizard brain, don't give in to the temptation. Write something and ship it. Or call me (602 363 5064) and let me be your paraclete.
## Goodbye for Now
If you've made it this far in the email, God bless you. And God bless this project. May we have fun and get some fun stuff written.