Mind The Gap

So yesterday we talked about the problem of the Cult of Done Manifesto, specifically the way it says to get shit done but it never tells you to do a good job. And today, we'll be talking about a manifesto with the other problem - it tells you to do a good job, but it never tells you how to get shit done.

So the thing is, if you put these things together you have a pretty good end result.

What I'm talking about is a piece of work called The Gap, which is by Ira Glass and was originally intended to be about producing video.

Ira Glass on "The Gap"
This resonates with every artist of every type.

This is an absolutely amazing piece of work which, as luck would have it, was originally brought to my attention by Wil Wheaton. He's awesome and you should like, follow him on Twitter and shit. But I digress.

The real key here is that the gap has this little handwave in the middle of it where it leaves some stuff out. It says do a lot of work; put yourself on a deadline where you finish one (news) story a week, or in the case of a painter you would paint one picture, and in the case of a blogger you would write one great blog post, and in the case of a YouTuber you would do one video like Laina does.

Or says she does. And then doesn't. Because she's traveling. Or she did a convention. Or just plain didn't do it for who knows what reason. I guess what I'm saying is that it's a real fucking letdown when Laina doesn't do a video.

And it should be the same for you. Not that you should be let down when Laina doesn't do a video, but that you should be let down when you don't. And that's where the Cult of Done comes into it, because it tells you how to get that shit done: just concentrate less on "right" and more on "done."

Now I'm going to put this language-independent version of the Cult of Done Manifesto here, because it's awesome.

Wordless Cult of Done
Seriously, how cool is that shit?

You'll have to compare that to the written version to get all the bits and pieces of it and understand what each of these pictures means, but seriously, that's pretty fucking badass because once you know them you can see that the picture is exactly the right thing. And it's like Ikea instructions - no words - which means it can be exported to any country regardless of language.

So the combination - the gap and the Cult of Done - is pretty decent when it comes down to getting started. When you put them together, you have a pretty solid set of guidance for getting started in any creative field (and they're all creative fields, these days).

Which takes me right back to the bucket brain thing, and where you're filling your bucket, but also to the monkey brain thing. Each manifesto is a tool, and when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Fill your toolbox, too. Get tools into your possession which can do whatever job you come across. Once you've got the tool, whatever job it does isn't an obstacle anymore - it's just a place that you need this tool you've got. Have the right tools to make decisions about your business, or your tribe, or whatever your badassery happens to be about.

Because with the right tools in combination, you can do things a single tool can't.

You've heard the "selling shovels" analogy, right? The prospectors went out West to find gold, and there they needed to buy shovels. When they ran out of money and time, they usually had to sell those shovels to get back home. Guess who got rich?

The people who sold shovels.

There are a lot of people out there selling shovels, and there's a corollary to this which most people miss. The guy who sells you a shovel doesn't actually give a shit whether you find gold. If you do, he'll want you to tell everyone it was with his shovel, so he can sell more shovels... but he is not going to put any time or effort or energy into helping you find gold. He just wants people to buy his fucking shovels.

That doesn't mean you don't need a shovel; you still need a shovel to dig for gold. But don't look to the guy selling shovels for help finding the gold. He doesn't care.

Tomorrow, we'll look at another manifesto... there's a lot of them about.