Create and Show Rough Drafts

July 5, 2017

As a bit of a perfectionist, I've had to learn a difficult lesson: drafts are not finished products.

The biggest waste of time I put myself through in the past was creating something close to a finished product only to find out the stakeholder didn't like it. (That's the worst-case scenario that doesn't happen anymore.)

Maybe the process I had been using at school didn't evolve properly. Create, create, create, and then turn it in and hope for the best... that doesn't work in the real world.

What I had to force myself to do was to create something without editing it as a I went. If it's words, put them all down on the screen before structuring it. If it's design, scribble out a stack of recycling before starting anything digital.

Then edit the text, or design a set of lo-fidelity mockups, and show it to someone. Or put it all aside for a day and show it to yourself later.

Whether you or that someone likes it, hates it, makes irrelevant comments, or just stares at it blankly, you will come out of the exchange with something. It could be a decision to run with what you’ve got, it could be an idea for an edit or redesign, or you could just scrap the whole thing.

Either way, you’ve tried a few different approaches and gotten feedback. And now that final draft should start to look more clear.