Two things learned 23:47 on Tuesday

Beach stones

This post is more on the note-to-self and self-reflection vibe, so unless you enjoy peeking into other people’s lives, bail out. This might not be very interesting.

Two things I’ve learned during the book writing process:

I’m most productive in two phases of every project:

  • The ideation phase, before actually committing to start a project, and
  • The editing phase, fixing and touching up, before committing to finish a project.

There’s a definitive gap there between those where the beef is, in the part where the hard work is done and only those with motivation, momentum and endurance persist. That’s the part I’m not good at and there are a lot of scary conclusions to be made from this.

Luckily I’ve noticed this only when doing open-ended creative tasks. So my Flash programming work is not affected. I code to the spec, start quickly, work hard, and wrap up easily. Maybe that’s why I seem to enjoy it so much. Unfortunately most of the other things I do are in the open-ended ballpark… no wonder I have a huge list of ideas and no execution.

The book is doing just fine though, because my co-author Sami can write 20 pages a day. ;)

When presenting big ideas I tend to think I as a presenter, talker, or writer have a responsibility to tell the truth. Truth being an idea that in my best knowledge does not have any flaws. Or if it has flaws, those flaws are presented in an open and transparent manner.

The book has quite some of those big-ish ideas, and I get hesitant about each of them. But a book without big ideas is a boring book.

I’ve started to notice it’s often better to present ideas that are big and good enough. They might have flaws, even quite obvious ones, but ignoring the nasty details makes the message, the idea, come across a lot more clearly. It’s ok to present things that could be the way they are presented, not only things that in my best knowledge definitely are the way they are presented. It’s about sacrificing some shades of grey to make a point clear and show a new alternative to stagnated opinions.

Is this a better approach to present ideas? It’s not a new approach by no means, I believe in politics the equivalent of this black and white behavior is called populism. It has a nasty ring to it. So for whom is it better to reduce details to improve clarity, however opinionated? Who benefits from it? The listener? Me, in the way of career advances? I don’t know yet.

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