Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind, eh? I'm not trying to say "I don't want my client work to be perfect. Please take all my clients" but it is certainly easier to be pragmatic about things when you *need* to finish.

A blank piece of paper isn't at all frightening, when you have a deadline.
Dan Antopolski, Comedians Comedian Podcast, Episode 3

I heard the above during an episode of the excellent Comedian’s Comedian podcast1 during which, Dan Antopolski was discussing his writing process and said a couple of things which nailed how I’ve been feeling of late.

When I was young, I used to draw. A lot. I was alright at it. I won a Blue Peter badge (sort of)2. I wanted each picture to be its own work of art, like I saw in my head. No practice. No iteration. Just straight into the final piece every time. I had to have a crisp sheet of bright, white paper. I would need a pointy sharp pencil and a sharp, black, felt-tipped pen. Like, a Berol fine. Box fresh, without a fuzzy tip (that’s how I roll kids).

When I made mistakes, the sheet was sacrificed. I hated the scratchy, corrective smudges of the rubber or the ghosts on the reverse if I (horror of horrors) used the back. I’m sorry rain-forests.

I’ve wanted to have a blog for some time. It almost comes with the job description. But I don’t like designing for myself. I’m an awful client. I put it off for client work. I start. I get a new idea (almost as soon as I’ve started). I get bored. I redesign. I move things around the page. I decorate. I throw it out. I get a new sheet…

The fear of putting something terrible (or worse mediocre) on-line, something meant to represent me as a designer, developer and human, is crippling. The thing is, at some point you have to ship. You need to get on with it. If it never gets out of the door, it won’t even be shit. It’ll be < shit.

Mr Antopolski talks about a similar issue in the interview above and tells a story about the mother of his children, who, whilst working in theatre was given a maxim by her director:

Let it be the pathetic piece of shit it was always meant to be.
Dan Antopolski's children's mother's director, via Comedians Comedian Podcast, Episode 3

Thats it. My new mantra. Let go. Let it be awful, or mediocre, or fantastic. And iterate. And evolve. And improve.

So now my blog exists. It is rough. There’s no navigation, no link colours, one grid layout for all sizes. It is not finished. But its shipped 3. It will change (probably). It will get better (maybe). If it doesn’t, so what? Its just some shit I made.

@matthewbeta

Footnotes

  1. Which is amazing, by the way. Especially if you like geeking out on comedy. Even if you don’t its great to hear people in a completely different field talk about there creative/collaborative processes.

  2. I came 48th or 76th in my age group for a competition to design a character for energy saving light bulbs (It was a glow worm. See what I did there?). I won a “competition Winner’s badge, which got me into Bristol Zoo for free.

  3. Full disclosure I redesigned this halfway through setting the blog up