Work - How to Create

You Cannot Build A Reputation on What Your Are Going To To.
— Henry Ford


When starting from nothing, there is only one next step. Make something. Once you have something you can edit it, add to it, subtract from it, rearrange it, scrap is, use it as raw material, or finish it and publish it. When starting work, determine if you are starting from nothing or starting from something and act appropriately.


How to Create

Define Done - The common phrase is ‘Start with the end in mind’ but my preferred version is ‘Start as close to the end as possible.’ If there’s a marathon ahead but you can start a mile from the finish? Do it. Understand what it is you are creating. Write down what it is in detail, who it will be delivered to, and when. Write down what you want that person to think and fell when they receive it. Once you have clear definitions for what it is you are delivering and the desired result, begin work.

Collect - Gather together all the raw material. Depending on the result the raw material could be information, research, images, wood, metal, clay, paint, nothing but ideas. Collect everything you have that might be of use.

Add - Start building using everything you've collected. If the plan for finishing is crystal clear, like a blueprint, add only the pieces you know you need. If you have no plan, add everything you've got.

Subtract - Once everything has been added, remove that which is non-essential. For each component, sentence, or idea, ask yourself ‘Is this required to achieve completion?’

Iterate (if needed) - If the first result will achieve the defined state of ‘done’ move ahead. If it will not, why not? Something missing - fill the gaps. Message unclear - subtract more. Forgot what the ‘done’ state looks like - start over from scratch. Iterate the process while closing the distance to ‘done’ on each rotation.

Edit - Before publishing, sending, signing off, or delivering, do a final pass with fresh eyes. Go over every detail as if you’d never seen the project before. This can be hard or impossible, it’s why editors have a job. Ask for help if needed.

Finish - Send, publish, print, release. You’re done! Keep what you've completed for use as raw material on a future project.



► Find a creative task on your list that you've been stalling or procrastinating on and use the process to finish it


Why you won’t do it.

  1. I don’t know what done looks like.

  2. It’s about the journey, I don’t want to take a shortcut.


How to do it anyway

  1. Starting work before knowing what done looks like is a huge source of lost time and frustration. If you can’t picture who will be receiving what in a done step, that’s your first task. Research or make up what done looks like and then get started

  2. Starting as close as possible to done isn't loosing the journey. It’s allowing for more journeys to happen. You can learn how to make your own paint before painting if you like, or you can start in photoshop. Wherever you start in the process, knowing when your done allows you to finish and free up your capacities for the next thing.

Johnathan Deckert