During my first weekend back in Australia, I wrangled the time to catch up with a friend. Over lunch, she made a comment that kicked off a stream of thoughts I’ve been wanting to post about for a while. Her comment was actually in relation to this blog you’re reading now. She mentioned I had sent out a post a few weeks before that had really obvious typos and grammatical errors in it. It seemed she was almost embarrassed for me… that some words I put my name to had gone out into the world unpolished. I admitted to her that I often write late at night, publish without another’s once over or edit, and that my intention was to simply produce. After all, I put together ~15 posts in the last month across The Fetch and my own blog alone. While I don’t want to get too bogged down in the specifics of this interaction, I think this provides a fantastic reminder for your journey to doing.
This journey starts with… putting stuff out there. To do, you need to put stuff out there. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been using physical fitness as an analogy for getting stuff done. You can’t go straight from being borderline obese to running marathons. It takes a lot of work and savvy habit hacking and formation. You start by walking around the block, cutting out certain kinds of foods, taking the stairs and become aware of what you need to do to keep going. The same goes for your professional lives – in this case, I need to put crap blog posts (or poorly edited ones) out there frequently to improve. I would also never have had the opportunity to grow a promising professional community in The Fetch if we didn’t put sub-optimal stuff out there to begin with. Heck, the first digest I sent in Melbourne had yellow links. Yes, YELLOW eye-watering links.
There’s a concept that’s referred to in the creative industries, mostly in music and television, called Old Shame. It’s when you’re mortified by your previous work: think naive albums, clunky lyrics, cheesy movie parts, bad fashion. I continually have old shame by my earlier productions – but this is great as it means I’ve evolved. I could delete older work but instead I embrace it. I’ve left the first marketing-focused blog I published aka The Zeitgeists on the web for years (which never ceases to draw close pal Eddie a good yet loving laugh).
And yet, like many of my points, it often comes back to lean (startup) methodology. Your work should be small, continuous iterations towards a goal with plenty of testing. If I never published a post for fear of errors, I would still be at the starting point without any feedback or reception from my readers. Frequent publishing allows me to see what’s interesting and useful to people, and what’s not. So, remember:
“If you are not criticised, you may not be doing much.” ~Donald Rumsfeld