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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

March 7th, 2007

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10:42 am - The Wheel of the Year, She is A-Turnin'. . .
Since I put the Wheel of the Year document (WotY) on my CaféPress site in late October of 2005, I've sold 37 copies of it. I made $3.02 off of it before I revised it and published it at cost last July. 15 copies were then sold at no profit to me. I've only once held an actual published copy of WotY, thanks to _crow365__: I don't even own a copy of my own book. It's kinda funny, thinking about how much work I've put into it, and what the return has been.

That return has been amazing.

It's interesting: the monetary return has been so darn low (so low I can't even collect it from CaféPress), but the value I place on the experience and the comments I've gotten back from it has been extremely high. Watching Dedicants use the plan (even if only for a month or two) has been very good, and a fairly solid indication that the program is helpful to at least some people.

My original, stated goal with the WotY was this: "If it helps one person, it will have been worth it."

I think WotY has surpassed that original goal.

The highest validation I got that it was a Good Idea™ was from Ian, who said he saw the next edition of the DP as including the WotY, possibly as an appendix, or even as a "book two". That, of course, was before the newest call for DP revisions* took place.

Now, I'm in an interesting fix. By reformatting the DP into more of a "path" than a "program", WotY faces an uncertain future. I fully support the revisions, but I wonder if there's any room for WotY in that path. More to the point, I wonder if WotY is more problem than solution: it was made unerringly clear that many folks feel we focus too much on "completion", and in my eyes WotY contributes to that.

No one else has worried about this, just me. No one has ever said, "Hey, you know, what you did was great and all, but we're looking to go a different direction." There's no pressure on me to re-think this, to re-work it, or to remove it from circulation.

But over time, if we wish to de-emphasize the idea that the DP is "a program you must complete" instead of "a path you can follow", we're going to have to back off on concentrating on the requirements. WotY, of course, is all about the requirements, and it is a central, driving force in the perception of the DP as a program you need to finish. This, then, puts WotY in a jam.

So now I'm stuck here, looking at nearly two years of WotY circulation, thinking about whether WotY will see another full year of use, wondering if it was worth it to write it and then come to a point where we might scrap it.

And I find myself saying, "Yes, it was."

Who knows, though, what the future holds for the WotY document? I certainly don't, and I'm not making actual plans for it. I'm really just thinking about it, and surprised at how satisfied I am with the six or so months I spent working on WotY, and how obvious it is that no matter what happens, what I decide or what ADF's Council of Lore decides, I'll be very happy with the outcome.

* - FYI: These DP "revisions" don't affect the exit standards, so don't worry about work you're doing somehow becoming obsolete. The booklet is just being cleaned up.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Tonight I Just Need My Guitar", -JB

(26 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2007 12:48 pm (UTC)
If people want the dp to be more path-like, i don't think WotY is in jeopardy. Yes, it does concentrate on the exit standards, but on the other hand it is also the most path-like dedicant resource I've seen yet. It's path-like because it gives you thinking exercises that are much like meditations (in the intellectual sense), and because it gives you a weekly way of putting effort into making your druidry real.

But if you want to make it still more path-like, you could add a few more experiential-based meditations in a new edition... or something.

This is kinda similar to a debate we get in the teaching biz. Some teachers (including me) say school classes are often too focused on passing the exams. But that doesn't mean that come exam time, you don't teach the kids how to pass the test! Dedicants still need a clear way to come to grips with the requirements, and to feel confident that there submission will in fact "pass." And since the WotY is not mandatory, I don't see how it could do any harm anyway--people who just want the path don't have to use it, people who choose to use it would be those who *want* to "pass."

Regarding the low numbers of people finishing the book... For what it's worth, I didn't finish it because I didn't need to. It got me thinking in my own terms and confident enough to strike out on my own. I think that was probably your goal anyway.

What the book does well is: It helps you overcome "big scary mush of requirements" feeling and take it bite by bite. It offers more questions than answers, to get you thinking for yourself. And it offers relevant articles and resources to help you get a range for what other people think.

As soon as these three things have given you the wings to fly, you really should leave the nest. The book can stay behind.

Only people who really like structure or are terrible procrastinators probably need to finish the book.
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
You may be correct there. I hadn't thought about the fact that WotY's really the only set of signposts most people ever see. :)

Hehe. See, this is why I like thinking out loud :)

And yes, you've hit on another of my goals. While the primary goal is "help one person", the correlative goal has always been "help anyone, any way possible." And I did specifically design the thing so that folks would think for themselves.

I was always afraid (and still kinda am) that people will see WotY as "the way to do the DP". When I wrote it, it was originally supposed to be something just for mentors, that the DP mentors would send out to people who were asking for that structure. Then I realized that it wouldn't work well that way, but made a better resource than it did teaching manual (so I went back and reformatted nearly the whole book to change the point of view, which had been first-person-to-second-person, to second-person).

The evolution of WotY alone was pretty weird :) I am, though, glad to see it got you thinking for yourself. And here I thought you just came that way. . .
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
If the WotY were actually packaged with or merged into the dp manual, as has been suggested in the past, then I could foresee some people assuming it is THE way to do the dp. Dedicants do have a way of reading implications where none are intended. I admit there's a little concern there.

If, however, they are physically separate, I think it's fine.

What I would like to see is a dp manual that lists WotY as an "additional resource available at such-and-such address," with a description of what it is and how people have found it useful.

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