As I like to say, even though I've never been to a rodeo or even watched one, even though I would probably fucking hate rodeos: this isn't my first time at the rodeo.
It's been interesting slogging through the past iterations of my work as I've created this one. Do you ever do that? Like, page through your high school poetry or read old .doc files in your archives? If you can bypass the attendant shame ("I thought this was good? What?") it's actually kind of interesting to watch yourself develop.
I can trace the roots of Forest North back to early 2008, over seven years ago now, newly graduated, working a job I hated for not enough money, where I would desperately scour the internet for diversion and ended up discovering that your job could be the internet. I had no idea. They don't teach you, in college, that bootstrapping lads and lasses can use their creativity and chutzpah to make money on the web.
I look back at my notes to myself and my journals from back then, and it's just so clear that I never believed that I could do it. That other people could do it, but not me. And I carried that forward, forward to my then job, to my next (miserable) job, to my first little website. There's this sense in my writing and my work, that even as I am on the internet, even as I am making money and changing lives, even as my job is indeed the internet, that I'm terrified about what happens when the training wheels come off.
And it's interesting, because looking back, I can see all that fear and speculation in every bit of every thing I did.
I was afraid of everything.
Afraid to make a mistake, afraid to be exposed as a fraud, afraid to send a wonky email out to my mailing list. (I've done that more than once now. The world didn't end.)
And what's even more interesting is that it worked anyway. I mean, not like Cinderella story, rags to riches bullshit, but worked in the sense that I really made a difference, was able to help, and brought a lot of value to a lot of people in the first three years of my work here.
I'm sharing this, not so I can pedestal myself, but so I can say this to you: I could not have ever made, envisioned, birthed, curated Forest North if I hadn't started dreaming seven years ago. Hadn't started bee-editing.com (who even thought of that URL? Oh yes, me.) Hadn't morphed it into eclecticeditor.com. Hadn't listened to my feelings of deep dissatisfaction with the business I'd created, wanting something more.
There's this sense, on the internet and in the writing sphere, that once you do the thing, you must love the thing. Especially if the "thing" is perceived as difficult or if luck is a factor. This is such total bullshit. You get to be unhappy, even if you're doing something everyone else wants to do. You get to be unhappy if your book is a bestseller. You get to be unhappy if you have one thousand million kajillion adoring fans. You also get to be happy.
You get to be whatever you are.
Whatever you are is data. If what you are is yearning to write a book, that's data. If you're hating the book you wrote, that's data. The data might not mean what you think it means (e.g., hating your book doesn't actually mean that it's objectively bad, yo), but it can be a key, a bit of insight, to help you understand what's going on in your life and then do something to feel a different way later.
And that's what I've been doing for seven years now, trying to understand what's going on in my life, and then doing some science to see if maybe I can feel different later. Turns out: Yep! You can.
So, welcome. Welcome to this thing I've created. To this place that is for writers and thinkers and dreamers and creatives, and most importantly, you. This place that I am no longer uncertain about. I don't yet know quite where I'm going, but I do know that I will like it when I get there.