Art, and the Lost (to me) Art of Completing Things
I don’t run projects in my personal life the way I run projects at work.
My website is likely the worst offending example of this. There are many reasons why this is so – I can’t always commit time to personal projects in the same way as I do with work (work is always a higher priority), I’m accountable only to myself and it’s all to easy to let things slide, I get too emotionally invested what I’m doing and burn myself out, the list goes on and on.
The root cause though, at least as far as the website is concerned, is that I don’t even think about it as a project. I don’t wish to get too far up my own arse here, but I think of it as art. When will it be finished? I don’t even understand the question. It will never be “finished.”
I’m currently in the process of a redesign. This is a fairly common state of affairs for me. I’m always in the process of a redesign, seeking inspiration from my favourite gallery sites, plotting clever new ways to pull together and cohesively (and automatically) present the content I create daily all around the web, planning to refresh bits of outdated information (but I can’t just update it, I need to think about how to better present it and how that will fit into the redesign I’m also planning).
I’m determined that things will be different this time around for three reasons that build upon each other:
1. I’m going to avoid cutting-edge design
Cutting-edge design is fashion, and I don’t know fashion. I know what I like, and I’m certainly attracted to what’s new and fresh, but I’m no designer. I can take inspiration from other people’s cutting-edge work and pull it together into something of my own, but that’s about it (maybe that’s what designers do, and I am one. Fine, but we’re getting off-track here. I’m not a design innovator, then). The problem is that fashion moves too quickly for me to keep up, especially with the pace at which I work on these things. What I end up with is a design that looks out of date before I even get around to finishing it.
2. “Fuck It, Ship It”
You’ll have to excuse the language, it came from elsewhere. This brief article sums up the philosophy here. Too many times I throw out work in progress and start over from scratch because what I see on my screen doesn’t meet my exacting standards of perfection.
3. I’m not, in fact, creating “art” here
Let’s inject a little realism, shall we? I’m not crafting a work of art, I’m building a little personal website that probably attracts no more than a dozen visitors each month. I don’t need to do the kind of work you’d see from a New York design agency – it should be simpler, and it should be something that reaches a conclusion.
I don’t want to be designing my website, I want to be using my website and publishing things to it.
You’re probably reading this post at it’s original tumblr address, and it’s probably displayed using a generic tumblr theme I picked almost at random. Both of those things will change as I work through the project and this content will become part of the site, both in terms of design and in terms of it’s URL. But I’m not waiting for things to be pixel-perfect before I start writing and publishing. Fuck it, it’s shipped.
We’ll see how I get on.