Start Before You’re Ready

Learn In Public Episode #2

Yesterday wasn’t a particularly good time to start this new daily video series.

I’ve been working on a very time-consuming freelance project (details hush-hush for now, but I’m super excited about it).

I’ve been creating near-daily videos for Verbal To Visual while also running an online classroom with weekly webinars, activities, and forums to keep tabs on.

I don’t have what I would call “free time”, but I decided this project was too important to not get up and running. I believe it has a lot of potential, and that in addition to being successful on its own merits, it will also positively influence my other work.

I have no idea where I’ll shoot tomorrow’s video (hopefully outside) or what I’ll say (hopefully something useful).

But not matter how tomorrow’s video goes (or the next, or the next), I’m glad that I started before I was ready.

Because a year from now I’ll be thanking myself that I did.

This is a long game, folks. Better get started.

Question Of The Day


What are you thinking about starting, and why haven’t you started it yet? Or have you…?


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Comments 8

  1. What are you thinking about starting, and why haven’t you started it yet? Or have you…?

    I havent set up my website yet. I love your Verbal to Visual videos and I have so many ideas on how I want to incorporate what I have learned, but I am procrastinating big time. I want to start before I am ready, as you have done, to help jump start me into action. I look forward to this Learn In Public series.

    1. Profile photo of Doug Neill Post

      Thanks for the comment Alalia! Glad to hear that you’ve already got ideas in mind for what you’d like to do with your site. I hope this project gives you the tools and motivation to get it off the ground! Be sure to let me know what specific questions or concerns I might be able to help with. Good luck!

  2. What is your trigger to start something new if you want to sustain it? And sustain what you already have in place?

    I sometimes feel like I may be splintering myself to keep “starting before ready” if I have too many plates spinning at once.

    But at some point you branched from graphicrecorder to verbaltovisual to this and probably other steps in between.

    What helps you decide that the time is now?

    1. Profile photo of Doug Neill Post

      This is SUCH a good question, Raven. Thank you for asking it.

      My trigger for starting something new is two-fold:

      1) It needs to be something that I have long-term (and potentially life-long) interest in.

      I started The Graphic Recorder because I knew that I would never get bored exploring the broad world of visual thinking while building and applying new skills in all sort of different situations.

      2) I need to have (or be able to make) time for it on a daily/weekly basis.

      When I launched Verbal To Visual, I scrapped a lot of other projects – Revolutionary Learning (which was the first iteration of what is now Learn In Public), A Trail Of Life (you’ve seen the remnants of that), and other random writing and drawing projects.

      So I do think it’s a matter of figuring out how many plates you can have spinning at once. My suggestion is to start with just one spinning plate, and get momentum going with that one before you start spinning another.

      For me, at first it was just The Graphic Recorder. Then I tried branching out to MANY other things but couldn’t handle it, and paired it down to just The Graphic Recorder and Verbal To Visual. Now I’m in a place where I have the time and energy to add Learn In Public to the mix.

      So I think there’s a gradual build up that can occur, but it starts with a focus on just one thing.

      Let me know what you think of these ideas!

  3. I’m thinking about starting a Research Masters, in the Sociology of Cooking. What’s stopping me? Well, I’m waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted into the course. But in reality, I have started. I’ve been doing background Coursera units online and reading about the history of cooking for the last few months, while I wait to hear back about my application. But I’m not really talking very much about these first steps.

    1. Profile photo of Doug Neill Post

      That topic of the Sociology of Cooking sounds really interesting, and a good one to learn in public! I know that I’d be interested in hearing more of what that’s all about.

  4. I’m working on a new project with a mate to incorporate sketchnoting skills that Verbal to Visual has motivated me to try and practice. It’s called ‘Speak and Sketch’ and the basic concept is he will speak and I will sketch. We’ll address topics around The Art of Teaching (we’re both teachers in Australia) as a starting point. In essence, we’ll be doing what Doug is doing on his own, but we’ll do it together. Some video of him speaking to the camera, with still images I’ve sketched (eg. Quotes) as well as some video of my sketching.

    Our school year has just finished (Dec 2015) and he’s already written and filmed the first script. Now it’s over to me to start sketching. My goal is to complete all the finished sketches and video of sketching this week. I’ll be up early in the morning to get started. I’d love to share some of the sketches and videos here – showing my learning in public… But actually need to learn how to upload, share, etc… I’m still exploring this new project of yours Doug, thanks so much, and I’m guessing you’ve a.ready addressed sharing your work in another post – I’ll go look, unless you can reply with a note on where I should search. Thanks.

    1. Profile photo of Doug Neill Post

      Hi Paul,

      So great to hear what you’re working on! Love the connection to Verbal To Visual, too. I haven’t yet set up a place here at Learn In Public to upload and share what you’re working on, though I am thinking about building in a Community component to this project, as I did at Verbal To Visual. Thanks for sharing here!

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