You can’t edit a blank page

Every professional knows that It can be difficult to get started on a new project, whether that’s a blog article, a web site, a drawing or graphic, or anything else with more than a few steps.  Looking at a project broadly is overwhelming. Ultimately though, you have to start before you can finish.

The most important part of any project is the beginning. Putting the proverbial pen to paper. Your first draft isn’t going to be perfect, nor does it need to be. Once you have the concept and ideas in place, the rest naturally follows.

When I’m writing, I’ll often start with a stream of consciousness.  I’ll write down absolutely everything and anything that comes to mind related to the subject.  Sometimes that takes the form of complete sentences, other times it’s bullet points or even single words.  The important part is to getting something down at all.  The same things applies to visual work.  With web sites, the first draft pretty much always looks a mess. I’ll make sure all of the elements I want to include are on the page then I’ll refine. I’ll use placeholders to indicate where future text or images will go. From there’ll make large changes and work my way down to small final tweaks as I near the finished product.

Those revisions may come to you as soon as you’ve got something in place, or it may be several days before you approach it again. The good news is that once you actually have something to edit, it will come together. 

When building your first draft, don’t leave anything out. You can always tweak and remove later.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously said “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.

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