Image by coreyweb via FlickrFebruary 7 marked six months since I skidded through the doors of Squidoo. It wasn't my destination. I hadn't planned on staying long. But as most of you may remember, once the toe of your shoe hits the Squidoo welcome mat, it's hard to pull back. That very day, I sat down and built my first lens.
One lens looked pretty silly sitting there alone, so of course I had to make a second and a third and a...Well,
I'm sure your story is similar.
So, what have I learned in these six months?
- A good lens may require vulnerability. When I published A Quilt Story: Voices from the Great Depression, I knew that I wanted this quilt to somehow connect three generations. It was a sad-but-sweet story I'd been wanting to share for two years, and Squidoo offered a way to do that with pictures and modules that helped shape the topic. But...I would need to open myself up to strangers in order to tell the story. I'm glad I did, because of the wonderful friends I made through that lens.
- Let go of ideas that can't be revived. I've begun a few lenses on an enthusiastic high, only to find them in need of CPR the next morning. I've learned to let them simmer for a week and if they don't excite me anymore, I toss them. No use wasting time on something that's destined for failure.
- Appreciate those who know more, as well as those who know less. I've learned so much about Squidoo techniques, by visiting lenses and hanging onto the coattails of lensmasters who have more experience than I. If I don't learn something new every day, I'm disappointed. I love to write, but a good recipe for a lens takes more than just one skill or ingredient. (Try leaving out baking powder and see what happens to your next cake.) I so appreciate how open Squidoo lensmasters are to sharing what they know. I now try to contact a few newbies a week just to encourage them, because that's what kept me going in the beginning.
- Know when enough is enough! Years ago, I used to watch a painting program on tv. One day this guy was demonstrating the final steps of portrait painting. He sat back for a long moment, cocked his head, and said he was finished...except for one thing. He dipped a thin brush into a light-colored paint and added a reflection of light in his subject's eyes. "There," he said, setting down his brush. He had added life to his work--a final gleam. It's the same with lenses. Knowing when to quit is as important as knowing how to begin.
- Laugh! If I want to mope, the early morning news offers plenty to drag me down. Humor lightens the load of lensmaster and reader alike. Maybe that's why some of my favorite lenses--both mine and others--are in the Humor category. Blame it on Squidoo struck a chord with many of my Squidoo friends out there. Help! I've Lost my Hippocampus gave us a chance to laugh at our ever-aging brains. Laugh therapy is good for the soul, especially in these financially-strapped times.