Why I’m Hella Nervous to Launch The Write Life

July 10, 2013

The Write Life launches ON MONDAY!

Image: If my hair looked like this, this launch would be so much easier.

If my hair looked like this, this launch would be so much easier.

While I should be super excited to launch this new website for writers, a project that’s been in my mind for more than a year and is now finally coming to life, here’s how I actually feel: NERVOUS AS HELL.

Why? Because this is my first time launching a big site like this, one that hinges on its own brand rather than my name, yet relies on my network to succeed. This is my biggest launch to date.

So yeah, you can probably tell I’ve put just a tiny bit of pressure on myself to make this awesome. And that makes the other reason why I’m so nervous that much worse:

The site isn’t ready.

Yup, that’s right.

Launch is FIVE DAYS AWAY and the SITE IS NOT READY.

Yes, the site looks good (thanks to Kate of Artemis) and has awesome content (thanks to the Launch Team). And we’ve got all the pieces in place to offer quality posts that will help writers get where they want to be.

But the site’s still NOT READY. There are still so many details I want to add, improve and tweak. So many components I want to have in place before we go live. So many details that taunt me every time I look at my massive TWL to-do list.

Why I’m forcing myself to launch anyway

I knew launching a project this big would require a lot of work. That’s why I chose a launch date to begin with. Back when TWL was just an idea, I Skyped with a friend who encouraged me to set a date if only to make myself execute my ideas faster.

So I chose July 15, which back then, felt worlds away. Yet now, as the launch date quickly approaches, I feel panicked with ALL THE THINGS WE HAVE TO DO. I’ve got a task list in Flow to keep me organized, and my team is helping with a lot of those tasks, yet I still don’t know how on earth we will finish everything I want to get done before we press GO on Monday.

(Hold on a second while I catch my breath.)

I thought about pushing the launch date back, especially given all the things in both my personal (new nephew!) and business (new clients!) life that have gotten in the way of spending as many hours as I’d like on this new site.

But I know deep down I need to practice what I preach and start before I’m ready. Because there will always be more I can do, more ways to improve the site. And the truth is, I will probably never feel ready.

By setting this deadline, I’ve forced myself to get sh*t done, if only because I don’t want to be embarrassed by the site when it launches. While there’s good sense in offering what the Lean Startup community calls a Minimum Viable Product — where you focus on getting it live before making it perfect — it’s also important for the site to look and function well upon launch, so first-time visitors want to come back. That first impression is our one chance to hook the reader, which makes it pretty darn important.

It’s tough to find that sweet spot between getting the MVP live and making the launch awesome. When you’re used to making things perfect, you’ve got to force yourself to settle for good enough, knowing you can add bells and whistles later. And the funny thing is, once you’ve been working on a project for long enough, your good enough might actually be the reader’s awesome.

Here’s what I keep reminding myself: why I started this project to begin with, and why it’s going to ROCK, even if it’s not perfect from the get-go. I’ll write more about that here on Monday in a post that explains all the nitty-gritty details behind what it takes to create a site like The Write Life.

Until then, if you want to help get this project off the ground, you can like the Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter. And send some positive vibes while you’re at it, will ya?

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    17 Replies to “Why I’m Hella Nervous to Launch The Write Life”

    • Tyrell Mara says:

      Hi Alexis,

      Thanks for the honest and vulnerable post. I am really excited to see the launch of The Write Life, and also appreciated the process that you are going through to get there!

      This article is timely as myself and one of my colleagues are currently building a cutting edge emerging leadership program for the next generation of leadership in the workforce – like you we set a launch date (which is getting closer with everyday) and there are moments of complete fright and wondering how are we ever going to get there. I am inspired by your post and look forward to following in your footsteps in staying true to our launch date as well!

      Cheers and thank you,
      @TyrellMara

      • Alexis Grant says:

        Cheers to YOU, Tyrell! The thing about a date is it forces you not only to get there, but also to work backwards and create little mini-deadlines for yourself. Lots of lists!

    • sohini says:

      Yup. Sometimes you just *start* – and you remind yourself that “done” is better than “perfect.”

      • Eric Butts says:

        Completely agree with Sohini. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to make things perfect that we never produce an end product. I bet with the effort you put in the visitors to the site won’t see the “flaws” that are keeping you up at night.

    • Jennifer says:

      What an honest post! It’s so difficult to follow through with a launch date when our inner perfectionist takes over, but I have no doubt that The Write Life will be amazing. I know I’m looking forward to checking it out!

    • Brad Veitch says:

      Great words of wisdom, pragmatism, and discipline. Set the date. Work for excellence. Accept MVP for starting. Would argue with “first impression is our one chance to hook the reader.” Really, only one chance? Maybe the best chance, maybe a really important point of decision but the only, one chance. No way. You have a good word for lots of us to ponder and put to work, Alexis. Get the launch done and write on!

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Thanks to all of you for your support! And love seeing some new names commenting here 🙂

    • Alexis, it’s going to be absolutely great! You’re a creative thinker, and every website will always need tweaks and updates. Our work is never done. I can’t wait to promote on Monday. Super excited for you!

    • When I set the launch date for my site it was three months out and sounded like plenty of time. Of course it wasn’t and it probably never is enough time. The last month my mantra became: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Do I need this to launch or do I want it? I actually started a No section of my launch to do list. Yes to twitter. No to Facebook and pinterest and any other social media. They could come later and they have. Everyone’s yeses and no’s will be different but it was an important but hard lesson to learn and to practice. Sending lots of launch love to you and the team. X

    • Deep breaths. This is going to rock. I feel it.

    • Kim says:

      I, for one, am excited for you to launch. I’m sure that we won’t notice the little details as we’re digging through the posts from your amazing team.

    • Samar says:

      Really looking forward to the launch Alexis. It’s been fascinating to watch you put this together.

      Your community is awesome. I have no doubt that they’ll rally behind you and show up for the launch and beyond.

      See you tomorrow over at The Write Life! 🙂

    • Can’t wait to see the new site tomorrow! I did a (very small scale compared to yours) website launch a few weeks ago and I must say that all the things that I thought I in the week leading up to the launch that I *absolutely needed to fix and make better ASAP* mostly turned out to be so nonconsequential that they are STILL on my Workflowy list and will be done in the near future, but not urgently. That’s to say, launch anxiety makes everything seem bigger than it may be. I bet it’s going to be great, even though it feels “not ready.” I don’t know if anything ever fully does?

    • Thomas says:

      Despite everything and whatever happens, I wish you the best Alex. It’s the same with everyone, I think – those who want to do something new and do not know if they are completely prepared, and yet they’d rather go for it then delay.
      But then, we know, getting the project off the ground is the goal and so shall it be.
      I am looking forward to the site. I know you will tidy up the details as you go along.
      Bon courage Alexis. Best wishes Alexis.
      – Thomas

    • Lee Edmonds says:

      Alexis,
      I just stumbled upon your website, The Write Life, and love everything about it…especially the catchy title! Well done! I have been trying to find a way to get my work out there, and your site has it all in one place! I’m looking forward to learning from everyone and hopefully being able to say, “Look! I wrote that!” when I’m perusing blogs or some day, opening a children’s book. Aim high, right?!

      Thanks!
      Sincerely,
      Lee Edmonds

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