March 31, 2020  |  David R. Novak

End of the First Quarter

End of the First Quarter

The buzzer sounds signaling the end of the 1st Quarter. The 13th Tuesday of 2020. A pause in the action.

I’m pausing from talking about communication to actually communicating — a step back, just for this week to make a few points on the overall trajectory here.

Another communication hot take coming to you again next week. But this week, slightly more exposed to take stock of what I’ve done so far, show where I’m trying to steer things, and a bit on how things have gone.

The Path So Far

When I started this newsletter, my goal was to go more public with my thoughts and writing in some way. Eventually settling on this forum for sharing, I dedicated myself to a goal of sharing 1000 smart words per week on communication. That was the selling point, I suppose. I originally envisioned and framed things as a week-by-week  “crash course” in communication, and in some ways, I suppose that’s what this is.

What I realized only a few weeks into publishing in this way though, and perhaps this is an illustration of my lack of foresight in this regard, is that what you subscribers are really getting is a first peek at many of the key ideas that I’ll cobble together differently in my book. Maybe this interests you more or perhaps less, but this is what is happening.

As I write toward the book in this way, the ideas get better, and the creative vision takes shape in front of me. It’s been the wildest thing. I know this probably sounds crazy. Maybe it is. But it’s working for me now, so I’m going to keep at it.

So far, I’ve talked some big ideas about communication and tried to put some new spin on things. I’m hopeful that, while I’m not there yet, people on the lookout can see where I’m going. 

Why do you care about any of this? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you think this makes what I’m doing an even cooler experiment. I don’t know. I planned these quarterly pauses to take a little stock because I’m new to all of this as well. Also, to provide a glimpse at the method to this madness. The vision is always changing, but my sharing of 1000 smart words per week will stay the plan. As somehow I’ve convinced you to give me your email address, I wanted to be upfront and honest about what I’m providing here — and also, to prove there is at least a little bit of method to this madness.

Encouraging Feedback

Part of sharing these articles was the desire for feedback, reaction, and a chance to glean what knowledge I could from how people were engaging with these ideas, which are difficult to write about. Approaching this material and subject in the manner I am is no easy task. Better to start sharing, I determined.

I also wanted feedback. Feedback helps make work better.

Thankfully, I’ve already gotten a good response to what I’ve shared both in volume and encouragement. Each article stimulates a handful of useful reactions: what I wrote about (A) made them think about (B), or  nice comments about this sentence or that, or what was a useful way to talk about a nuanced idea. I’ve gotten a few “Have you thought about this?” messages. Sometimes I had and sometimes I hadn’t. Seeing the connections people are taking away from these ideas is helpful and response usually stimulates ideas that I might not otherwise have come up with.

I’m at a point where most all feedback is helpful because, while I do have my vision, it is evolving and feedback makes my ideas stronger.

So consider this a call-to-action: if you have any feedback, send it along. I’m always open to your challenges and  suggestions.

A Tell And An Ask

I have something to tell you and something to ask you.

The Tell: If you are one of the first 250-ish people who has already subscribed to my newsletter, you’re going to get something nice from me eventually,as thanks for subscribing from the beginning. I’m planning this to be a free (or very heavily discounted) and personalized copy of my book when it comes out. All you’ll need to do is stay on my newsletter (otherwise your email disappears) and, when the time comes, follow the directions I provide. I’m thankful for the folks here at the beginning and watching me unfold this crazy experiment in front of you.

The Ask: If you think I’m sharing good ideas and you think someone might like them or be interested while I’m rolling them out this way, tell them. Alternatively, I’d love it if you shared a weekly article if it speaks to you in some way. The most powerful endorsement is a word of mouth where someone vouches for what I’m doing or an idea I’ve had.

And if it helps you entice anyone, I’m planning on offering something to anyone subscribed to my mailing list at the end of the year — not as nice as the offer to you all who have signed up early and remained, but something.

This week’s share is all about where I’m at. This is a planned pause (part of my content calendar) and frankly, it’s nice to get a week to get a brief shift in tone and talk more personally. It’s been wild thinking through the plan for this book and all the associated work I see. I used a lot of 2019 (due to a spell of unemployment which I am thankfully now past) and the physical distancing of 2020 to invest in myself and my own work. I’m still working to bring the thing I see in my head out into the world. My plan right now is to running in this same direction for the rest of 2020. Thanks for being along for the ride. Expect a pause similar to this at the end of the coming three 13-week loops.

I hope you’ll share this with a friend or six. Thanks for reading.