Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

Sketch Fest (and other project) scheduling thoughts...

Okay, looking at my schedule for the next few months. I know that there are all kinds of super-woman moms who jump right back up from childbirth and take over the world, and that frankly, I could do that, too.

But I don't want to. I want to take a few months off, bond with my screaming bundle of joy and husband, put down my projects, and stay offline for a bit. I may blog. I may not. I do not want to have to trouble-shoot, organize, assuage, ship or answer emails during that time. Which means: No Sketch Fest. No Torn World. No EMG-Zine. No coloring books. I dunno if my project gland will survive the withdrawal, but I'm looking at it a bit like a project de-tox. I had a good friend (and fellow bat-guano insane go-doer) do this after the birth of her child, and said it was one of the best things she could have done. I am unlikely to have such an obvious excuse again.

Coloring books are easy. Remove the ordering page, add some links to my awesome wholesale clients so people can still find and buy them - I've already warned my wholesale clients, so they know to stock up now (and are!). Close my Amazon page. Check.

EMG-Zine is relatively easy - I can do all of my usual work in advance, and puffbird does all of the heavy lifting. I will have to delegate putting artwork in the gallery, but that has been reduced to push-button work. Check.

Torn World is a little trickier - I hate to lose momentum on a project like this. But, I've got a PILE of work that I can 'time release' while I'm away, and I can pick back up with things in May, for Sea Monster month. I've got a volunteer to coordinate a contest while I'm away. This is a project that has clear waves of activity anyway.

Sketch Fest... ah, Sketch Fest. If I put Sketch Fest on hiatus for three months, I risk public lynching. But every month, regardless of what improvements I have or haven't made, something needs fixing. There are sales that need manual approval. So, I'm looking at two options:

  • Do two Sketch Fests in December, two in January, and one early February. Take March and April entirely off and pick back up in May with one a month again.
  • Delegate. This takes not only a lot of trust in my delagatee, but also some major tweaking, since I will have to disable CC ordering... or possibly disable sales entirely. I wouldn't ask anyone else to send out credits during this time, so people would have to buy them in advance, and I wouldn't be able to cash out artists' sales (because however much trust I do have... I don't have enough to hand over my paypal account with the site keys!).

    Okay, fine - I'm just looking at one option. No Sketch Fests in March and April. I'm looking at doing another one in December on the 23-24, then Jan 6-7, Jan 20-21, and Feb 3-4. (Guppy could come the first week of February and be considered fullterm, and though I suspect she will be fashionable late, instead [we're half-hoping for a leap year baby!], I don't want to tempt her too much...)

    Now, I've heard some feedback, and been stewing over the 'hows', about offering a custom 24-hour period option, a longer Sketch Fest, and some other 'this is a bad time for me!' complaints.

    I took some time to think about how I would offer a custom 24-hour period, and I had a few stumbling blocks there:

  • This would require everyone to register, and prompts to be private to those who are registered. Prompts are public right now - and it's not really fair or in the spirit of things for someone to be able to leave and see prompts, then come back later and start their own timer. So, I'd have to 'cloak' prompts until the user started their own timer.
  • This sort of kills the 'people all around the world doing the same thing at the same time' feeling of the project.
  • This is going to drastically change the dynamics of people who are shopping at Sketch Fest - especially if they like to wait until the fest is closed to make their decisions... how long to do they have to wait NOW? 48 hours? Three days? A week? This takes away some of that impulse buying/get it now/excitement of the opportunity.
  • Nightmare to code.

    For now, this is not an option on the table.

    A longer Sketch Fest is also something I spent some time thinking about. I worry a bit that if you stretch it out, it starts to lose its immediacy. With less of a deadline, some of that frantic, sketch-sketch-sketch! feeling goes away, and it's less of a stretch-and-speed exercise. Keeping the same level of energy you do for 24 hours for a 48 project isn't always feasible! (Also, Jenny's husband may just fly up here and strangle me, if I 'make' her do Sketch Fest for twice the time!) Coding is a little more complex, but not all THAT much.

    I haven't eliminated this idea, however, and with two Sketch Fests in December and January, I'm thinking I may go ahead and try a few trial adjustments.

    It's tough to move or extend the second December Sketch Fest, because it's running into Christmas Eve as it is, so it will be as usual.

    For the first January Sketch Fest, I am thinking I will simply try extending it to 48 hours, so it runs Friday noon - Sunday noon (Alaska time).

    For the second January Sketch Fest, I am open to the idea of running it 24 hours again, but Saturday noon - Sunday noon (Alaska time).

    Your thoughts and input are very welcome!

    And, a list of coding things to finish before February, for myself:

  • Finish the date-automating at Sketch Fest.
  • Finish the time-release programming at Torn World
  • Do my EMG-Zine work ahead of time. (Note, you will only get a cover spot if I have your artwork sufficiently in advance! Go submit artwork for those future themes: Centaurs, Plants and Sea Monsters! Plus, between now and then, Dragonflies, and Steampunk!)
  • Get people to cash out their credits before I go on hiatus. Or better yet, before years-end, for book-keeping purposes.
  • Finish this page.
  • Get the publications sales functions I've been noodling around on finished before years end. It will be SO cool for artists/writers and make my life SO much easier.
  • Tags: emg, emg-zine, sketch fest, torn world
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