“It’s the stuff you leave out that matters. So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. Be a curator. Stick to what’s truly essential. ”
Jumping back in after a few days off can be terrifying.
What did I miss? Was I missed at all? How many emails!?
Nevertheless, I’m back on the grid and excited to share some of the thoughts I gathered while I was away. I read a lot. I wrote some. I tried being quiet as much as I could stand.
An idea that kept resurfacing the past few days in my reading and writing is something I’m continually attempting do.
“It’s the stuff you leave out that matters. So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. Be a curator. Stick to what’s truly essential. Pare down things until you’re left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.” - Rework, Jason Fried
We want our projects to speak to as many people as possible, so we add. Layer after layer, we add. Thinking that the more we do, the more attractive the project becomes. Let’s make it bigger, better, slicker. Let’s make it’s reach wide and broad. The more layers, the better, yes? The more people, the better, right?
This is where you should start, in fact.
When you’re beginning something, blue sky the hell out of it. There are no bad ideas. Spitball your heart out till the day is long gone.
Unfortunately, this also where most people end. A table full of “more,” suggesting to the untrained eye that the project is done.
I have never been a fan of such a process.
More, in my opinion, is simply more. More junks things up, more than it doesn’t. More doesn’t clarify, it just is. In fact, it’s possible that more may be getting in the way of saying exactly what it is you want to say.
Pairing down your projects (manuscripts, blogs, designs, songs, mission statements) to their absolute essential bits, is the mark of truly mature work.
Your assignment this year: Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit.
You must find what is essential or your amazing message will be lost under a pile of more.