Last week the Studiomates gave presentations about what we’re working on. This produced great conversations about the way we work, and the challenges we face when trying to be productive. During these talks, Rob Weychert (friend, champion air guitarist, fabulous designer) said, “I usually have to write about something to really understand it.” Rob also pointed me to this tweet from Mr. Zeldman, which shares this sentiment:
Rob and Jeffery’s statements resonate with many of us, and not just creatives. Jason (boyfriend, fellow Studiomate, iOS developer) regularly writes emails to his boss detailing a coding problem he’s having. Most of these emails are never sent, because the simple act of writing the problem helps him to solve it. Similarly, I’ll often drop what I’m doing to write a post about a thought that’s picking at my brain. Once the idea is “on paper,” I can go back to focusing on the task at hand.
For me, that’s the real beauty of writing. Ideas can be noisy, heavy things. Trying to ignore them is like trying to ignore a bored cat. It will sit on your chest while you’re resting. It will paw at you while you work. It will purr, it will scratch, but it will not go away until it is acknowledged. Writing is how I acknowledge an idea, so it will finally go to sleep.
Usually, the writing is pleasurable, if not easy. It’s a selfish, cathartic act. The hard part is publishing. After all, I don’t want to pollute your feeds with this noise. And the style of my site isn’t quite right yet. Maybe one day I’ll write something worthy of posting to my crappy little blog. But, in the meantime, it’s best to continue to Save as Draft.
But I’ve come to realize that, while it’s good to practice writing, it’s just as important to practice publishing. Posting my ideas teaches me to edit myself, spark conversations, and accept criticism. Being evaluated is an essential part of a creative career; it happens every time I try a new style, propose a first mockup, or give a presentation. Right now, I’m not very good at accepting critiques. I suspect that publishing will help me develop this skill.
In conclusion, this post has several aims. It is my start to developing a new habit: I will write ideas down, and release them. This post is also intended to be a warning: I am going to be publishing more things! If you find this an unwelcome declaration, I encourage you to back out now. Lastly, in writing this I hope to encourage all of you to follow suit: share your thoughts, start conversations, and don’t be scared.