Review of Tamalyn Dallal’s NOLA Weeklong 2016

Wow, it’s been a crazy few weeks! Tamalyn just put the icing on my sleep-deprived cake…

Tamalyn-NOLAA standard water heater heats up a big tank of water. Once hot, the heater cycles off and on, keeping all that water piping hot—until you use some. Cold water then refills the tank and the heater kicks into high gear. It once again brings all the water up to temp. It does this all day.

An on-demand water heater, by contrast, does not have a tank. It only heats the water you use, at the moment that you use it. No cycling off and on, no ready reservoir of hot water. There is still as much hot water as you want (ideally), just no wasted energy keeping a reserve tank heated.

I have always thought of myself as an on-demand water heater. I might lie around all day long, but when there is action to be had, I am ready to roll. This has always worked for me. Until now.

New Orleans kicked my ass. Tamalyn’s technique, her discoveries about the global tapestry of Middle Eastern Dance, our group’s warmth and camaraderie (limited to 10 dancers in Tamalyn’s adorable home studio), all set amid the chaotic glory of New Orleans’ frenetic energy, rich food, and late nights did me in. Yes, I’m still tired a week later. No, I wouldn’t change a moment. Here’s how it all went down.

Tamalyn’s technique is different.
She began her belly dance journey from a Western mindset of external focus, precision, and stylization, but she didn’t stay there. Tamalyn’s approach evolved and deepened as she delved ever more deeply into an Eastern mindset and movement quality. Her movement now integrates air and earth.

This is exciting to me. I have been retraining myself over the last couple of years to initiate movement from the earth with gravity and weight shifts. I learned this approach from Yasmina Ramzy. It has changed my dance for the better, and it’s a real thrill to see someone with Tamalyn’s experience and high visibility build this into her technique.

The basic idea is that movement comes from the connection between the feet and the earth. Most of us were taught to use internal muscles to do everything and the feet were only along for the ride. With gravity-based technique, however, you push into the earth to lift the hip. Weight changes drive shimmies. Hip circles come from weight shifts along the foot, from the heel, to the ball, across to the ball of the other foot, back to its heel, and so on.

The foot action drives the movement of the hips. It’s a richer, gooier way to dance, far more physically pleasurable. And while it feels more relaxed, it actually uses more muscles in a more holistic way. Each morning became a deep exploration of technique, a welcome journey through realigning movement patterns and reawakening our relationship to gravity and earth.

Tamalyn’s next revelation was the global tapestry of Middle Eastern Dance. As a world traveler and belly dance pioneer, Tamalyn visits many far-off places and teaches belly dance everywhere she goes. She has also researched the global connections our dance has—in the unlikeliest places.

Tamalyn has a glitter globe liberally sprinkled with colored jewels tracing the myriad trade and migratory patterns that have passed through or centered in the various countries of the Middle East, from spice routes and Silk Road to the Ottoman Empire. She has now been to many of these places, including Central Asia, Western China, and Eastern Europe.

Everywhere Tamalyn goes, she asks questions and gets answers about dance traditions and connections. She has found innumerable movement and musical connections in her travels. Each day after lunch, we watched dance films, traced yet another route on our maps, and discussed these global connections. Then we danced away the afternoons, prepared for a small group show, and danced by the river to the saxophone of a local musician.

On top of this (and it was plenty), we were enmeshed in the gaudy glory of New Orleans’ French Quarter. I can’t even describe the energy. Or the ever-present music. Or the amazing food. Or the weird mix of tourist theme park, classy residential area, and rich historic detail. The French Quarter is beautiful and seductive. The museum, with its history of Mardi Gras and deeply moving Katrina exhibits, is wonderful. Even the tourist traps are kind of heartwarming.

Tamalyn took us on an exciting tour with local Cajun guide Carla Bouillon and brought in some local dance artists to help us get the feel of the energy—the standout was Marissa Joseph TheMoeJoe, who teaches Bounce as well as Creole dance (major similarities with belly dance), and several other styles. It was a helluva week.

A few cautions:
Drink lots of water. I could not stay hydrated. The temperature in Tamalyn’s studio is quite pleasant, but outside it is HOT.

Choose a place to stay within a a few blocks of the studio. There are lots of hotels and airbnbs around. You don’t want to take cabs back and forth to your place every day. It adds up, and it cuts you off from the local energy.

Bring your wallet. NOLA ate more money faster than almost any place I have ever been. On the other hand, I minded spending the money less here than most other places. I resented every dime Las Vegas sucked out of my pockets, yet I happily paid my tabs in NOLA, even when it was $50 for an appetizer, mixed drink, and dessert (with tax+tip) at Tableau—the place and people were that marvelous. But oh my, was I exhausted!

Where was my hot water when I needed it? I was demanding, but nothing came out of the spout. Well, I now realize it wasn’t my heater–it was my fuel. What was supposed to be a blessed interlude of RnR before I got to Tamalyn’s turned into a crazy rollercoaster of running around and no sleep. Sleep, my friends, is the key. It is the fuel that heats the water, and I was running on fumes long before I got to NOLA.

Stockpile sleep, people! We went out almost every evening; then we stayed up talking until 3 or 4am. I barely rolled out of bed in time to get coffee before class.

I’m still tired, but it was worth it. I lived on some of the best coffee I have ever drunk, sugared with wonderful people, great places, and amazing food. It was a blast.

Tamalyn is not to be missed. She has done so much for our dance so long, and her understanding is so nuanced and rich. It is worth it to travel for her, even all the way to New Orleans.

She’s doing this workshop again in 2017. She will also be in Vermont for a week with Leila Farid and Sahra Saeeda (raq-on.net), and teaches online through DaturaOnline.

Get more information at tamalyndallal.net.
And come visit NOLA.

Love,
Alia

How to Lighten Dark Times with the Spring Flowers Method

 

Lassie's Spring Garden
Lassie’s Spring Garden

Spring makes everything better. The soft breeze, the gathering sunshine, and most especially, the spring flowers peeking out. We cherish the tiny crocus, snowdrops, violets, and so many other delicate little beauties who appear ever so briefly to lift the heart. Braving cold rain, late snow, even mud, they bridge the gap between stark winter and the sweet riot of summer. Every sighting feels special, a secret pleasure we tuck carefully in the pocket of our heart, grateful for the blessing.

Some days life feels pretty dark. It’s cold, rainy, raw. It’s easy to feel displaced, like everything is wrong. At those times, we remember to look for the spring flowers. Sometimes all we can find is a little green sprig, just the tip, poking through the mud. We can still take a moment to treasure it.

Sometimes we can’t see anything. Some days are all winter; there is no green to be seen, no matter how hard we look. The world will not always pony up the good stuff. We have to look into the pocket of our hearts, to what we have tucked away.

Our dance time is a Spring Flower. Rhythmic Breath is a Spring Flower. Music. Art. Love. There are so many more. Tuck them away.

Keep looking. Seek out the wonders, great and small. These things are always there, peeking through the crust of dirty snow. Put them in your pocket. Treasure them. Remember them. Share them.

Love,

Alia

Frederick is a lovely children’s book by Leo Lionni. It’s about the task of the artist, to experience the beauty of the world. To remember it, to recreate it and to share this beauty in lean times. Here’s a reading of Frederick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kbOngCTFRU

How do you cross train improvisation (for effortless dance)?

How do you cross train improvisation?

Thoughts, drawn by Alia Thabit on a Note 3 w/ Sketchbook for GalaxyImagine there is a tiny pipe in your head out of which all ideas flow. When it is running well, you are on top of your game, in the Zone, enmeshed in the moment. Then comes that niggling doubt, that whisper of “I can’t do that!” Crash! You are thrown out of the moment. Suddenly, there you are, all alone, and feeling all eyes upon you. Sounds like dance, doesn’t it?

Surprise—it’s freewriting. Freewriting has only a few rules—and they are so much like dance improv.

1- write fast without stopping

2- don’t erase

3- write whatever comes into your head

Write fast without stopping

Pick a time period—10 minutes works well. Start writing. Keep going as fast as you can until the timer sounds. Simple, right? You’ll find it is a magic path to clarity, understanding, and—better dance.

Don’t erase

Erasing is judgement, and judging is death to improvisation. It’s saying, I made a mistake. There are no possible mistakes in freewriting. It is an ongoing experiment. The purpose of an experiment is to see what happens. The purpose of freewriting is to discover what you think—deep down. If we stop and judge this flow, it will be lost. If your train of thought changes tracks, just skip to the next line and keep right on going.

Write whatever comes into your head

Some weird things may show up—things that don’t make sense, or feel uncomfortable. Dive right in! Let them out on the page. Take the risk. You can always burn it later. That pipe is narrow, and it is way too easy for it to get clogged up. Any holding back will clog that pipe right up—and it may take hours to get unstuck.

Writing is going to help us dance better!? Yes! Not that your hip circles will suddenly get circlier (though I wouldn’t rule that out). But practice being in the moment and allowing ideas to rise and responding without judging or interfering is a skill of which we need more in belly dance.

It seems crazy that writing can help us dance better, but think about this.  In the same way that we improv by following impulses with conviction in the moment, freewriting does the same thing with words. We have to have the courage and flair to throw down a page of words, not caring how they come out. It is just the same with our practice, as we show up each day and dance our allotted time. When we let ourselves sink into the moment, amazing things come out.

Try it! Open up that pipe by freewriting for 10 minutes sometime. Write whatever comes into your head for a 10 minute span. Then  you can read it and see what you said. It probably won’t be brilliant, but it will be yours. And it will help your next improv session, too.

Here’s a segment of Natalie Goldberg’s seminal work on freewriting, Writing Down the Bones. http://ebookbrowsee.net/gdoc.php?id=226708999&url=a1c426f256e414c24af92e979c4b29e3

And here’s some music…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkO6pIr9ueU&feature=youtu.be&list=PLJalN2OCQJVYcih0S_xVlZV32WmrhEWyM

And here’s Gil Scott Heron from a long time ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGaoXAwl9kw

How to Receive Critique

Elbi-examines-Hub_web
Say, “Thank you.”
This is the proper response to any critique, positive or negative, offered by anyone for any reason.
Even if the person is an ass. Even if they are trying to hurt you. Even if they are totally wrong. Even if there’s a reason you did whatever.

Don’t explain. Your teacher does not need to know why this critique does not apply to you, or how you thought you were doing that, or that you already did that.

Just say “Thank you.” And mean it.

What this achieves
It requires you to receive the comment thoughtfully. Even trolls can have something useful to say, mean-spirited as it might be.

It confuses the trolls. If anyone is trying to unhorse you, this will break their pattern of attack.

It shows respect to anyone who is truly on your side. Nothing is more annoying to a teacher than to deflect their thoughtful comment. Remember, Correction = Compliment. If you weren’t worth correcting, they wouldn’t bother.

Then what?
Check in with your feelings
We often feel hurt or even angry when criticized. Most people have no clue how to give constructive feedback, particularly corrections. Taking a moment to assess your feelings helps you to respond creatively and avoid reinforcing or escalating a hurtful response pattern. As you get in the habit of this, you will start to do it sooner and sooner–even before the Thank you. This will make your thanks even more genuine.

If you are in class
Follow the correction. Even if you are already doing that. Do it more mindfully.

Assume that a general correction to the class also applies to you. In general, trust your teacher and just do whatever they say.

If needed, ask for confirmation/clarification. For example, as you follow the correction, you may ask, “Like this?” or, if you don’t see what they problem, “Would you please show me what I’m doing do I can see the difference?”

If you have an injury that makes following difficult, try to do the correction in a way that doesn’t hurt. If that’s not possible, ask how to modify it for your condition. “I hurt my foot–how can I adapt this?” Even better, let your teacher know at the beginning of class that you are injured.

If another student corrects you, say Thank you, then go back to your business. It is not the place of students to correct in class, unless they have been specifically delegated by the teacher. If they persist, talk to your teacher. If your teacher can’t or won’t manage the class, find a new one.

In a public space, such as a performance
Always accept praise with grace and humility. People who block praise appear rude and stuck up. Your audience has taken the time and risk to come up to you and talk to you. This is a very big deal. Take the time to be genuinely appreciative of every compliment, especially from strangers. They have no reason to prop you up. You have no idea what is going on with them, what your show may have meant to them, for what reason.

Don’t apologize. So many of us get a compliment and then explain (often at length) what we did wrong, why our show sucked, etc, etc. Just because you aren’t happy with your show is no reason to destroy it for others. Just say thank you. And mean it. It insults the taste and intelligence of the audience to tell them they are wrong.

Ask questions. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it’s okay to ask specific questions and get clarification. Some examples:
What was your favorite part?
Where did you most notice that?
What element gave you that impression?
What feeling did you get from the end?

In any space, public or online (such as YouTube or Facebook)
PLEASE DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Feel free to ignore, delete, block, or unfriend angry, insulting spam. Trust your gut.

Buddhists say your worst enemy is your best teacher. Sure, some people just want to hate on you, for whatever reason. But they may also bring you a vital teaching. When you are able to step back from the hurt or outrage their comments may bring, you can more effectively find it.

Maybe there is something about your dance, costuming, or presentation that could be improved. Maybe it is all about learning to take negative comments in a professional manner, rather than as personal attacks. Maybe it is about cutting negative people out of your life.

Reflect and Revise
The more you step back and weigh people and interactions dispassionately, the more you make changes that bring you ever closer to your true self, the more you let go of self-serving excuses that keep you small, the easier it is to attain greatness.

Attain Greatness.
It is the best revenge ever.

Badass Art Revolutionary

Art-revolutionary

The 90 Day Dance Party burst upon the world in the fall of 2012. Over 400 people signed up for this wonderful, free event. It marked the beginning of some enormous shifts in my life.

I made a badge back then for everyone who was part of this landmark long-form improvisation–the Badass Art Revolutionary.  I always wanted to see that badge on stuff–and now I can!

I spent this morning procrastinating all my work tasks and put the badge on redbubble. Check out how cute it is!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/aliathabit/works/18763476-badass-art-revolutionary

I’m getting the backpack for myself. And I am putting more fun art on redbubble. Count on it!

Love,

Alia

 

How to Enjoy Dance Practice Part IV

HubMasterBrightIn this series, we look at how dance has turned from a pleasurable fun activity to one of perfectionism and hard work. The series began with the observations of a dance friend, Sarah, who noticed that practicing improvisation was seen as less valuable than drilling or fitting combos into other songs.

Our first strategy was making time for creative work. Read Part I here.

Our second strategy was Opting for the Most Pleasurable. Read Part II here.

Our third strategy was Share Your Joy. Read Part III here.

So we’ve looked at a lot of strategies.

Now let’s look at some caveats–things to watch out for. Sarah mentioned that she and her dance friends tended to dismiss “just improv” as not a quality practice session.

We must consider what a person means by “just improv.” If they mean put on music and hop around on autopilot, no, that is not going to make them a better dancer. It will maybe up their stamina, but otherwise it is just going to reinforce hopping around on autopilot. 

When a person really dances, they become more skilled at really dancing. The interoceptive (Sufi, Dancemeditation™) model puts us in questing, curious relationship with our body, the music, and the Divine. That is entirely different from hopping around. 

Sarah said,

I’ve had days where I’ve danced for 30-40 minutes; playing around with the music and what feels good … Then I beat myself up for not having “really” practiced.

Part of the shift is letting go of beating ourselves up. For anything. This is a destructive behavior. It is a symptom of old shame and trauma. When we feel it happening, we can take long exhales and let the impulse wash out of the body. Practicing self-love and acceptance is far more valuable–and genuinely subversive ; ).

To dance well, we need confidence. Drilling and technique practice encourages us to look at ourselves with narrow, critical eyes. Really dancing, using our time to enjoy and connect to the music, the guests, our bodies, and our joy–this develops our confidence. The affirmation in the picture, “I am a Master. I am great!” is worth a lot of repetition.

There’s a difference between drilling and improv. Drilling practice makes us more precise and stylized. Quality improv practice develops musicality and intuitive response. 

A classical musician trains through technique, plays scales. A folk musician plays music. That is his practice. The folk musician may be every bit the musician and every bit as skilled as the classical musician. It’s just a different system. 

Dave Brubeck went to Turkey and was flabbergasted that the folk musicians were so brilliant and improvised on odd meters better than trained Western musicians. That’s what inspired him to write Take 5 (or that’s the myth, anyway). Even in Arabic music, there is the maqamat, a classical learning system of modes and scales, and there is the nagamat system, that of melodies (nagam means melody in Arabic). 

What I suggest is a nagamat system: practicing dance–by dancing! (the raqsat system, if you will).

Wait, what about technique?! I roll technique into my practice. I often stop to explore a move, enjoying its path and texture in my body. I fit my movement to the music, listen for and express emotional timbres, respond intuitively, explore and enhance individual movements & vocabulary, develop grace (slow movement), strength (by using the floor), etc etc. 

I also practice stagecraft and connection. I roll all of this, too, right into my practice. I “dance like someone is watching.” I challenge myself to be as open as I am in the interoceptive mode while connecting to an “audience.” I dance with my eyes open, and pull out all the performance stops, right in my own room, flirting with the walls, mirror, and the guest who exist far past those physical walls. 

This practice style makes me more creative, innovative, and happy. I am always finding new ideas, new avenues, and new elements in my music. I have more freedom, better technique, and a lot more joy–both in dance and in life. Plus my musicality improves, too. This is a pretty significant win-win.

If you want to be a great dancer, it may take more than 20 minutes of practice a day. But if all you have is 20 minutes, you will become a better dancer by dancing–and developing a deep connection to your body and the music–than you ever will by drilling. It may not be the same in other dance forms. But that is how it is in this dance. 

The basics of our dance are not that hard. It’s not like ballet, or even Flamenco. It’s super organic, super comfortable on the body. I mean, it’s a folk dance. There’s a learning curve, but you can get most of it in a couple of months. Hell, you can get a lot of it in an couple of hours. 

–> The artistry is in the intuitive connection to complex, improvised music, in never doing it the same way twice, in the feeling, in the connection, in the joy. 

You can’t drill that. 

You have to dance it. 

That’s what we’re doing when we practice improv. 

Or at least, that’s our path.

Love,

Alia

PS Want to inspire, amaze and delight? 

You might enjoy How to Create Dance Art (CDA), an online composition intensive for improvisation & choreography, coming this spring.  http://CreateDanceArt.com

“Alia took the time to read my postings and reply to every one, always with helpful information and insight. I felt that she really understood the different ways people learn and work. We weren’t all the same people. I felt that I was a part of the group but that I was also lucky enough to be taking a private course with Alia.”

“The work is spaced out over a long period of time which allows for a true thinking sift to happen. It’s a lifestyle change not a diet so to speak. I would recommend this course to people who are ready to have a paradigm shift and who have an open mind.”

“it was really amazing in the ways that it helped me to make my dancer richer. Even if it was only in my mind. Because every feeling I have is somehow translated to the audience, and having so much to work with made me feel that I would never be out of ideas. I could do a hip circle 20 times, but if I emoted differently with each one, it would seem different to the audience. Mind blowing.”

 

There is a special early deal November27-30. Please have a look right away as it is very short term. http://CreateDanceArt.com

What is Belly Dance IV

Read Part I here

Read part II here

Read part III here

It’s pretty clear that belly dance is more than a sparkly little toy. It’s more than a sexy treat for the male gaze, a fun way of getting exercise, or a dress-up opportunity. It is more than entertainment. It is more than art. We can use it that way, and it will work just fine, but we are playing marbles with giant pearls.

Belly dance is a glorious marriage of the sacred and the profane—beautiful, sensual, healing, and integrative. It aligns the body and mind, washes away stress and trauma, frees us from fear and anxiety, and connects us to the Divine. How many other venues have all that?

There are plenty of practices that do most of it—tai-chi, yoga, Zen archery, even sitting meditation. But none of them include those sensual, beautiful, entertaining, profane qualities. There are no spangles, playfulness, or music. No sensuality. No fun.

Belly dance has all that and more.

Belly dance has been seen as entertainment, art, a pastime—a generally innocuous occupation with little meaning outside of itself. Many of us have a mission to “elevate the dance,” which often means to make it more Western—put it on bigger stages, with bigger audiences.

What if we elevate the dance by keeping its cultural values? Improvisation, feeling, sensual enjoyment, micro-movement, playfulness, dallua, soul. Without them, this dance is dead. It’s an empty movement vocabulary. It becomes like Cheez Wiz or Cool Whip—an artificial, processed, non-food masquerading as real food. We don’t need more plastic crap in our lives.

We need real things that connect us to our true selves. We need avenues to our souls, ways to accept and nurture ourselves, be kind to ourselves, love ourselves. Through accepting and affirming the self, we find the courage and the kindness to love others.

Little by little, this love radiates outward, touching others, healing as it goes. It extends outward, all over the world, finally returning back to us, energizing us and everyone it meets.

Am I saying belly dance has the potential for world peace?

Yes. Yes, I am.

Instead of using this dance to glorify ourselves, we can spread love, healing, kindness, spirit, joy.

We heal the world, one undulation at a time

How to protect your dance space

Most days I get up several hours before anyone else in my family. It is often dark, now that it’s fall here in Vermont. It’s also cold. I hate getting up in the dark, and I hate the cold. I’d prefer to sleep in every morning until it is sunny and warm. But I get up. I don’t like it–but I like myself better when I do it.

I wash up, make some coffee and toast, and take my vitamins. Then I open the file of my book. And then I write. I like to put in at least an hour or 1K words. I often go more and sometimes less. (For a while I was reading every morning, but now I am focused on the writing). After I write, I put in my headphones and pick a dance song on my phone.  Once I’m moving, I usually dance for my whole 20 minutes. And then I feel like I accomplished something, all day long, even if the rest of it goes completely to heck.

It’s hard, because when I feel sorry for myself, I tend to get self-indulgent. I slack on things I know are important. I eat crap food. I don’t write–or dance. Then I feel guilty (another big time-waster). Then I feel even sorrier for myself–and the cycle of Resistance continues.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of relative consistency. And I don’t always defend my time well. Yesterday I overslept and my Mom got up early. I just stepped back. I wasn’t happy with myself, but I am done beating myself up over the occasional slip. NGAMO, right? No Guilt And Move On.

Today I got up earlier and wrote–but I didn’t fully close the book part of my morning and formally move on to the next task in the chain, the headphones and song. So somehow I didn’t dance.

Little by little, progress comes. I narrow the focus of my intentions and determination, things get done, and they become habits. Accomplishments then become more reliable, and my skills improve, because I get consistent practice, so I feel better about myself. You get the picture, right?

It’s so seductive to let our creativity slip down the back of the sofa. We put ourselves last and swallow our frustration, turning it against ourselves. We waste our lives hating ourselves for our weakness. Hating ourselves is just another trap.

Why do we do this? Some of it is what we learned to do. Some of it is our own fear. Where does the fear come from? Often it’s left over from times we got shamed. Wherever it came form, it’s corrosive to our creativity. Art requires us to take a stand and make something–to move, to put words or ink or paint on the page.

Instead we believe the lies we tell ourselves.  It’s no good, I’m no good,. It doesn’t matter. It’s too hard. I don’t care. It’s just…

How do we protect our creative spaces?  Our dance habits? Our self-confidence and joy, which are so tied to our creativity?

It starts with showing up. Showing up to do the work. This is a big reason I like taking classes (besides the learning). I have a reason to show up. Someone besides me notices. They’re on my side. I started teaching so I would practice. I still do. Little by little, I grow my habits.

Every day, I learn to show up. When the Muse comes looking, I want to be there.

So do you.

Just show up. 

 

Want some classes to help?
All of these start within the next week.
Rosa Noreen’s teaching one on arms
http://rosanoreen.com/handsandarmsintensive/

Nadira Jamal’s teaching one of developing a sustainable practice
http://www.bellydancegeek.com/practice-habit/

And I’m teaching one on Effortless Improvisation. Daily assignment, accountability, and a great community that has your back. https://aliathabit.com/effortless

 

Plus, you can double up and win with the Compassionate Critique Salon. 

Do you crave honest, objective dance feedback?
(Wish it didn’t hurt so much?)

Announcing: The Compassionate Critique Salon!

The Compassionate Critique Salon. Honest, empowering feedback in a safe environment so dancers can develop the confidence to grow their artistry.

Plus (since one size does not fit all), you get great feedback from *three* professional dance coaches: Nadira Jamal, Rosa Noreen, and Alia Thabit.

Each coach will provide you with encouragement, observations on what to cultivate, and one idea to work on. So you feel good about what you’ve accomplished and have a manageable set of goals.

How do we sign up?
Registration opens October 25th.
Get notified the minute it opens!
http://www.bellydancegeek.com/compassionate-critique-salon/

Special treat for anyone who takes 2 or more of the above classes, too.

Small Products Lab Day 2

Well, I managed to bite off a bit more, but i am still chewing!

I’m taking part in the 10 day Small Products Lab challenge–make and launch a brand new product in 10 days. It’s now Day 2 and I have decided upon my project: And overview of How to Design an Online Course. Yeah, I got this.

 

For Day 2, we are to make a To-Do List. Here is mine.

 

#SPLDay2  To Do List

July 26: Course outline, contest rules, and goal setting

July 27: What’s your product?

  • E-Course Design Overview

July 28: Plan, research, and outline

  • Finish outlining
  • Create bullet list from the outline
  • Begin writing: 100-150 words for needy points
  • Identify cartoons for illustrations
  • Set up pre-sell page on Gumroad

July 29: Set up your profile (Twitter chat with Nathan Barry)

  • Have Twitter profile already
  • Keep writing
  • Start drawing

July 30: Start marketing (Mid-Lab challenge)

  • Make a pre-sell page on GR
  • Send an email to my list w pre-sell page
  • Post the pre-sell page on FB.
  • List other teachers to email
  • Keep drawing and writing
  • Wave to my visitors

July 31: Package it up (Twitter chat with Barrett Brooks)

  • DESIGN & PACKAGING ugh. Help!
  • Design workbook as pdf for printing (will take all day)
  • Draft a pitch for the course to follow
  • Wave to my visitors

August 1: Work, assess, breathe

  • Must… keep… going…
  • (eek I have to make a sales page for another course, too!)

August 2: Decoding the pricing puzzle

  • Double the price!
  • Keep drawing and writing

August 3: Prep for launch day (Mid-Lab challenge winner announced)

  • Congratulate winner
  • Freak out over design flaws
  • Freak out over lack of content
  • Keep writing and drawing and emailing and posting

August 4: Partner up (Twitter chat with Jeff Goins)

  • Get a partner, I guess
  • Keep working

August 5: Reach out

  • Email EVERYONE
  • Frantically attempt to finish
  • Scream hysterically at family and friends

August 6: Launch day!

  • Collapse in a sodden, sobbing heap
  • Do an interview on a totally other subject, now long neglected

 

Aaand, we had another sort of list to make, so I did that, too

What exactly does the end result look like?
A 1-2 page overview of elements to consider when designing an online course

How many words/minutes/features is it?
+/- 1K words plus pictures

If it’s a digital good, what type of file is it?
PDF

Does it require input from anyone else (a partner, an interviewee)?
Noooo, but nervous about design

What is necessary to include in it, and what’s nice to have?
Main points need to be there. Extra info about each point is nice. Or a video! With the points a slides and a little chat about each one.

Where do you think you’ll encounter difficulty producing and/or launching it?
Time is tight, of course. It will bloat, of course. I will hate it, of course (at times). But I’ll do it.

 

Day 3 coming up tomorrow!

 

What should I make?

What should I make?

I just joined Gumroad​’s Small Product Lab (https://gumroad.com/smallproductlab). I’ll make a new thing in 10 days, from 7/27-10/5. Something digital–a small book, tutorial, tool, video, or art thing, like a coloring book.

What should I make? What would you like to have?

Love,
Alia