WHAT'S IN A NAME?
So far we've just used a working title for this blog "Our Journey" but now that it's published, has a handful of followers, and I'm hoping to draw in a few more subscribers, I think we need a more unique and catchy name. If you google "our journey blog" you'll discover what I recently did - this is a very popular (and way too broad) blog title used mostly by young couples starting a family.
First, this blog's title needs to convey, in just a few well chosen words, what we're all about. It's about a purposeful intention to reinvent our lives to achieve our goals. It's about all the things that need to happen and some others we want to happen to get us there in one piece - meaning, we haven't bankrupted ourselves, alienated our friends or murdered each other. OK, those examples are a little extreme but certainly those are among the things we want to avoid, right?
In my business our approach is called spiral engineering. That's when the detailed final design is not yet known but the overarching requirements are. The design evolves through a series of prototypes, redesigns and refinements. Instead of writing a huge manifesto or detailed project gantt chart, we are filling in details as we go along. This approach isn't the most efficient way to go, but offers us a lot of flexibility to address what life throws at us along the way without getting frustrated that we're deviating from a rigid plan. In less technical terms, we see our destination across a large valley. We don't know the exact route we're going to take but we see the general things we might need for a successful trip down into the valley, across the valley floor and up the other side.
After I read over what I just typed, I see some key words from above that might help build this new descriptive title. They include: We, Dream, Journey, Purpose, Reinvent, Life, Goal, Need, Plan, Success, Spiral, Design, Flexible, Detail and Destination. I typed the root words here but many could take the form of noun, pronoun, verb or adverb. How does one cobble a few of these words together in a creative, descriptive way that someone new might be drawn to? This is the point where my technical writing background falls short. We need a poet.
To help with the poetry I guess we need to understand our intended audience. Who might want to read along with us? Well, first Denise and I are using this blog as a personal journal to record our thoughts and actions as we go along. Like I mentioned before I'm writing this all down to help push us a bit. But that doesn't help here because we are already subscribers. Next, our family and friends might want to read this. Again that's a no-brainer because we just need to show them the link and they'll sign up, I'm guessing. Then there are folks that might currently be on the same path we've just begun. It's always been more interesting (and historically, safer) to travel in a larger group. There are those who are intending to pursue the same sorts of interests as us - maybe a BFA student leaning toward photography or other similar medium hoping to make a career as a professional artist or perhaps someone interesting in becoming a healthy living expert. Then there are folks that may just want information to strengthen their artistic hobby or fresh ideas for getting GMOs and preservatives out of their pantry. I guess there could also be dreamers - people who'd like to quit their day job and pursue their passions but for whatever reason don't or can't and want to live vicariously through someone else's experiences. Nothing wrong with that - I wanted to be an astronaut. Anyway, for all those potential blog followers what string of words would entice them to read a few entries?
We also want this title to express our desire to convey information in a meaningful way, peppered with a bit of humor (well, my kind of humor which might be a bit dry or esoteric for some). A few of my favorite semi-autobiographical books keep popping into my head: "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "The Last Open Road". Both are about journeys (of sorts) and the titles are interesting and catchy. They're intriguing but don't reveal the whole story. Above my desk hangs a painting of a tall ship in a storm with the caption "The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore...unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible...it is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors...to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown." ~Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1530) That's a bit wordy for a blog title, but it's a phrase I read almost every day, it inspires me and I'd like our (much shorter) blog title to have some sort of inspirational slant.
So the homework assignment is: using the list of words above, reach the target audience with a blog title that is at the same time descriptive, creative, funny and inspirational. Jeremy Clarkson would say, "How hard could it be?"
The answer, Jeremy, is "very!" I've reached the end of this entry with no clear title springing from this page. I'll leave it to my subconscious to chew on this problem for a while and I'll invite our subscribers to take a stab at it in comments. Help us out, will you? Thanks!