One of the founders of the annotation site Rap Genius revealed some tips about the design and start-up process at First Round Review.
A few things I liked that can be applied to writing:
“You can’t try to do the perfect thing now. If you do, you’ll never do anything. Your anxiety and fear of judgment will stop you every time.”
Founder Tom Lehman coded the site, but it didn’t have all the features he wanted. They pressed on anyway. This is great for writing too. A piece of writing can only be edited so much. The idea either works or it doesn’t. It has to get out. This is why I like working in a corporate environment. I’ll admit, a lot of the stuff I do I’m not 100% pleased with when it goes out the door. But my bosses have edits, we have deadlines, there’s other work to get to. It forces me to refine my process each and every time, but it still has to get out.
“You are the dumbest you’ll ever be right now. And that’s actually kind of inspiring.”
This is so true, but I always forget it. Working is part of learning, learning is part of working. My knowledge didn’t stop when I got out of school, and if I think it did, I’ll never get better at writing or what I’m doing. I’m only gaining more and more experience with each thing I try. I’m dumb right now, but I’m getting smarter.
‘Worse is better’ gets the ball rolling.
“You just have to get something out there,” Lehman says. “People will say ‘this is horrible, anyone could make this better.’ That’s what happened with Wikipedia.”
I guess “worse is better” for now, but there should always be a better around the corner. But it does get the ball rolling. Words in a document are better than no words in a document. One story idea is better than no story ideas. Worse is better than nothing.