Timelines and autonomy

Part of what I’m thinking about this morning is why it was relatively easy to set up volunteers that put in a lot of consistent work at the various magazines, and why that’s been more challenging with the non-profit orgs. Lots of reasons, but I think two of them have to do with timelines and autonomy. Specifically:

TIMELINES: For the magazines, having a regular publishing schedule kept things on track; deadlines are motivating. Surprisingly, I think in some ways it was easier to do that with Clean Sheets & Strange Horizons publishing weekly, as opposed to Jaggery, coming out 2-3 times / year, because the weekly schedule, despite being more demanding, stayed very present in peoples’ minds, and you also quickly learned who actually was willing to commit the time to the project or not.

For the SLF, the grants have annual deadlines and internal schedules for juries, etc., and even though we slip those sometimes a bit (juries require some wrangling), overall, I think the schedule helps keep it on track. I need to figure out similar schedules for the more amorphous parts of SLF administration, I think — for the operating work, such as outreach, memberships, fundraising, general organizational.

We’ve talked about a monthly meeting, but maybe I need to get on organizing that (or even weekly? joint work session on Discord, rather than a meeting?). And / or set up annual calendars for each aspects, so that people have a better sense of goals / progress.

AUTONOMY: For the magazines, I set it up so that the various departments (fiction, poetry, art, etc., including copyediting & website management) had autonomy within themselves; they were responsible for shaping the direction of their section, setting up workflows, etc. I tried to only step in if they blew a deadline, or asked for my help. I think that helped a lot with motivating them to take ownership of their areas, and responsibility for getting things done.

I feel like I haven’t done as well with that with either the SLF or Maram. The big success with the SLF is the grants, which is mostly all due to Malon Edwards taking charge of them and administering them — he puts in so much time and work, and I barely remember to thank him, gah. We need a Malon Edwards appreciation day, folks. Go read his fiction, at least!

But I need to do that for the SLF with the small press co-op, the local chapters, the international translation project if it happens, the archive of teaching / oral history material, etc. Also, if we can, with the admin sections, though I’m not sure if that’s as feasible?

And then the same thing with Maram. The latter is starting to shake out into departments for tech (KurtKentVanessa), textile (MargaretPamelaCarollinaAngela), writing (me, AlecDeborah), and cooking / gardening (PamEulàliaPetia, me). I think those will be really helpful, and I need to formalize them a bit, put everyone organizing on the masthead, and then set up a calendar and deadlines and the like. (Heather, can you put the latter on my to-do list on Trello, please, and remind me if I haven’t done it by the end of the week?)

It’s all a little amorphous still, but we’re getting there.

TIMELINES / AUTONOMY are my watchwords for the next phase. 

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