Shawn Blanc has updated and rereleased his book, Delight is in the Details. It’s on sale today for 25 percent off and I just picked up a copy.
Why did I buy it? Because I watched the video and it immediately rang true to me because of something that happened only last week. I’m currently collaborating on a how-to book. It’s not a giant or earth-shattering endeavor, but I’ve never worked on a book before. And when I sat down to write my section, I found myself staring at the screen of my MacBook for an hour or more, lamely trying to bang out opening sentences, fumbling for words and worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I had an outline, I knew the topic, I was excited about the the topic. Why couldn’t I get going?
After setting it aside for a few hours, I realized I was starting in the wrong place. The way to get started wasn’t to sit down and start at the beginning of my outline and work through it piece by piece like an automaton. The way to get started was to start with the part I was most looking forward to writing.
As Shawn says right at the beginning of the video:
I have found an excellent approach for doing my best creative work: having fun.
So I jumped ahead to the fun part. The next thing I knew, I had 2000 words and a folder full of screen shots. (No, seriously, I blacked out. I’m not sure exactly what happened.)
Yes, eventually I’ll have to do the harder parts. But those will come more easily with the confidence of having already produced good work and the incentive of being so close to the finish line.
It seems obvious, but I can tell you that it’s something almost everyone struggles with. Things that remind me — podcasts like Back to Work and books like Shawn’s — help me get unstuck.
(Disclosure: I’ve previously written for Shawn’s site, The Sweet Setup. For money. I know, it’s shameful and disgusting and it never would have happened while Steve Jobs was alive.)