Today’s word in case you’re unsure from the title – AAR
What the heck is an AAR? You’re probably wondering — especially if you have no military background.
At the conclusion of every mission employed, an AAR, AFTER ACTION REVIEW is conducted to determine the effectiveness of the mission. Sometimes called a debriefing, too.
I’m the daughter of an Army Air Corp/Air Force officer, the spouse of a retire Army officer and a former DAC. I thrive on order in chaos and demand order/structure.
My life, until my husband’s retirement, was pack, unpack, establish a nest, pack, unpack, and establish a nest. I’ve gathered lots of fodder for my writer’s mill and skills I’m sure I’ll not live long enough to use.
Two years ago I took ex-Green Beret Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer A-Team course. I’m not sure Mayer offers the course anymore, but the book WHO DARES WIN, The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear and Succeed is available here.
His Special Forces tactical approach applied to a writing career resonated with me. I credit that class as the turning point in my writing. I especially loved the AAR, After Action Review. I now conduct AARs on all writing activities and projects.
Sound silly. Not really.
We all do AARs unconsciously. We just don’t call them After Action Reviews. Bet you’ve said. “Been there done, that not going again” or something like that. And I’m guessing you’ve also said, I loved < you fill-in-the-blank>, too. You just did a mini-AAR.
After every move, my family discovered ways and methods to make the next move easier, more palatable for the children and the travel to the new location more fun. All the while, reviewing what we’d learned at our last location.
Guess what, we were doing an AAR!
My husband’s favorite AAR, if the experience is unfavorable: “Done that for the first and last time.” Our shortened code developed from long years of being together: “first and last for that” or FLT
My AAR for Kristen Lamb’s Blogging-to-Brand class follows. Risky, I realize.
After all, Kristen might read it. Not worried.
Knowing her association with Mayer, she’ll probably conduct her own AAR. My thoughts can contribute. Or be a testimonial. Or not.
AAR Step 1: My goal (mission) in taking Blogging-to-Brand:
I needed to learn about branding and social media. I have two novels, The Pendant’s Promise and its prequel, In the Land of the Morning Calm, in the publishing pipeline. I want readers to recognize my name, buy my books.
I’d read Kristen’s book WE ARE NOT ALONE. Actually bought it at Bob’s workshop. I agreed with what I read and decided the class would provide added benefit.
AAR Step 2: Was my goal or mission accomplished?
I’d say DEFINITELY…the class nearly exploded my head!
I have to admit I signed up reluctantly. When I say reluctantly I mean screaming about why, why, why? I’m a writer, not a marketing person.
Not that I wasn’t familiar all the social media places. I was. See the links in the right hand column.
I have a website
a Judythe Morgan FB page
a page on Shelfari where I list the books I’ve read and make a recommendation
And, now after KL’s BtoB, a blog! Which you already know because you’re reading this.
I thought I was off to a good start. Kristen’s class took me further.
- My circle of followers has grown. More importantly, I’ve met some terrific people I might never have known existed.
- I discovered social media is about more than marketing. I really, like these people. We share our heartbreaks, our troubles, our cares, our concerns. They’re good people. Good writers.
- I know I am not alone in my writer’s journey.As Kristen says, it’s all about the WANA love. Thanks to all for the follows, the comments, the WANA love.
AAR Step 3: “If you accomplished your goal, determine the fine-tuning.”
As much as I did learn, I’m still sorting through the technology intricacies and would be totally lost without help from WANAs and my techno-savvy daughter. I must follow-up with
- classes for fine-tuning my blog, my tweets, and my FB postings
- learning to utilize HootSuite, TweetDeck, and FB Time Line effectively
KL’s Blogging to Brand was Informative – Enlightening– Time consuming.
The class forced me to accept what I knew, but didn’t want to admit—
to be a successful, productive writer I must learn to juggle many balls.
Writing. Blogging. Tweeting. FBing. Marketing. Eating. Drinking. Sleeping.
But then, as Ursula, the evil octopus from Little Mermaid says: “Life’s full of tough choices, innit?”
Hard choices. Sometimes not fun choices. Especially on wonderful spring days when the porch swing is calling and not the computer.
YOUR TURN: You done any AARs lately? Or want to share what you learned from Kristen’s Blogging to Brand class?
You’re right, Judy, I reflect often, but do it in a less structured way. It’s good practise to see if the time we spend keeping up with social media pays off in book sales. I’m having a hard time juggling writing, social media, job, family, house, friends etc. etc. I’m so impressed by people who seem to be on top of it all!
Oh, Sharon. I too wish I was on top of it all. But I think “it all” is piled on top of me. LOL
I’m still figuring out all the ins and outs myself. And, like so many of us, learning to juggle all the balls of blogging, tweeting, Fbing and WRITING! Thanks for stopping by and especially thanks for wanting to hear more. LOL
Hi Judythe. I love the way the WANA team has developed. And it’s so nice that Kristen keeps tabs on us by checking in. That is so supportive. The class pulled me into blogging. I’m still on the learning curve, but the learning hurdles have decreased. I enjoy your blog and want to hear more of your stories.
Thanks, Ginger. I think whether we admit it or not we all evaluate and AAR just about everything we do. Or should.
Parenting that’s always a toughie. Same things don’t ever work the same on different kids…as you well know.
Glad you stopped by.
Yep this group is special, Elaine. Figuring all this out definitely takes a tribe or a WANA bunch.
I was kind of scared to read, but you MADE MY WEEK! I am so happy that you found so much value in the class. I am actually working on new classes to take you guys to deeper levels and new heights. I just needed to get away from the Yahoo Loop because the format was like trying to paint in a straight-jacket. I think you guys are going to be stoked when you see what I have been working on.
*gives mysterious laugh*
It really warms my heart to see how you guys care and love and support one another. That alone is priceless. The WANAs impress me every day with their creativity, talent and selflessness. You are the best peeps anyone can have.
Wow, thanks for stopping by, Kristen. I’ll anxious to know what you have up your sleeve next. Any hints? How soon will we know??
I’m not so much about the organization, so haven’t done a formal AAR. Learned a lot, though and the class exploded my head just like it did yours, Judythe. But what a wonderful way to go.
Love your write up and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I agree 100%. :) I do AARs all the time and now I’ll have to call them that, me with not a military bone in my body.
I review writing techniques I’ve tried to gauge whether it’s a good tool for me. I do AARs in my gym all the time. Could I have used more weight, did I bite off more than I could handle, how can I do that workout faster, etc.
In parenting … don’t get me started. Always discovers ways I can do things better and rejoicing when I somehow did it right!
Great post, Judythe.
I do a lot of AARs. My most frequent is the DGT (don’t go there). Still wondering why I end up there so much of the time *sigh*
Kristen’s class definitely didn’t fall in that category. Even after reading both of her books, I can’t imagine having tried this whole blogging-tweeting-facebooking-networking-social media thing without the encouragement and support of the WANA tribe. They are a special group of people, indeed!