A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "process"

Apr 11, 2014
There’s about a million miles between saying ‘I have no idea what I’m doing,’ and ‘I’m making it up as I go.’

Apr 05, 2014
Feedback is great for telling you what you did wrong. It’s terrible at telling you what you should do next.


The Ultimate Fan Extras Collection



Demo of Beat It composed using only Michael Jackson’s voice

As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.

One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”

Reasons why I laugh when people say he wasn’t a real musician.

Dang. Dude was good.


(Source: harrattanparhar)

Feb 22, 2014

If I remember correctly, my editor and I were on the phone talking about format ideas and trim sizes for Steal Like An Artist, and the problem was that my slides for the original talk were landscape format but books are usually portrait format. So I think Bruce suggested meeting in the middle and making it square.

So I went hunting for square books, and it turned out that James Kochalka’s The Cute Manifesto, one of my favorite little square books, is in the exact trim size we were talking about using, 6x6. So I drew up a cover, printed it out, and wrapped it around my copy to make a dummy book:

dummy book

I took that up to Workman and left it with them, and the story goes that they mocked up a bunch of other covers and laid them all out, but the late Peter Workman pointed to my dummy book and said, “That one.” (I regret so much that we never got to meet.)

It’s very, very rare that an author gets to do the covers for his books, but much to the credit of the Workman design team, they’ve let me in on every part of the process. I think part of what made that cover work is that it’s too stupidly simple—I’m not sure any real book cover designer would dare suggest something so simple.

Anyways, when it came time for Show Your Work!, I really conceived of both books as a kind of “Robin Hood” box set — you steal, and then you share — so it made sense to make them the same trim size. (We’ll see about the box set…)

Feb 03, 2014

Kathy Sierra on how she writes books:


I write (books, non-fiction) starting w/ a storyboard. Each “cell” on the paper maps loosely to 1 page in book. I don’t “write” start-to-finish; I iterate over the “cells” adding details. The [table of contents] emerges last.

This makes me so happy. Show Your Work! in full effect.

via @seriouspony

Jan 30, 2014
The Internet is a great place to try and fail. Because if you fail, nobody really sees it, nobody cares. No harm, no foul…. When you put [your work] out in installments, you see the feedback and you can shift course, things can happen that wouldn’t have happened if you were just doing it on your own…. Releasing stuff on the net, I don’t think it matters if it’s perfect…. it is a way to not go down a rabbit hole of perfectionism and it is a way to keep the thing coming out on a reasonable schedule.

Jan 27, 2014
All drawing is process. You make some marks on paper. Those marks help guide you to make other marks. You frequently don’t know where you are going until you get there.
— Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing (via)

(Source: thinkprocessnotproduct)

Jan 20, 2014

Studio Visits: Wayne White

“Catch things that have been falling for a thousand years.”


Studio Visits: Wayne White

“Catch things that have been falling for a thousand years.”

Dec 19, 2013

Forget setting goals and commit to a process

Great article over at Entrepreneur magazine on why goals are overrated, and why we should replace them with systems:

If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week…

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?

…I just added up the total word count for the articles I’ve written this year. (You can see them all here.) In the last 12 months, I’ve written over 115,000 words. The typical book is about 50,000 to 60,000 words, so I have basically written two books this year.

All of this is such a surprise because I never set a goal for my writing. I didn’t measure my progress in relation to some benchmark. I never set a word count goal for any particular article. I never said, “I want to write two books this year.”

What I did focus on was writing one article every Monday and Thursday. And after sticking to that schedule for 11 months, the result was 115,000 words. I focused on my system and the process of doing the work. In the end, I enjoyed the same (or perhaps better) results.

This has always been the way I operate: I never had any kind of goal with my writing, only a daily routine that I followed. And the work just piles up over time.

Dec 18, 2013
You go diving for pearls every night but sometimes you end up with clams.
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