And, as far as I know, I believe I’m the only one to have two apps simultaneously featured in a perennial category like this:
I haven’t done any serious research about that possible fact so I’m probably wayyyyyy off, but regardless I am very grateful and humbled that they would put both of my indie projects in an area that has some very nice visibility.
But I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about a creative dilemma. I want to talk about starting and finishing.
You see, both MNML and Desk were and have been serious labors of love, as they say. My brother asked me the other day what I thought the total amount of time and financial capital has been invested into both projects over the last 4 years+ (I started documenting Desk in November of 2013 and MNML just over a year ago) and my paper-napkin math suggest well over $500k.
This number is mostly likely, actually, much higher, but, it’s really just conjecture, closer to a really, really bad guesstimate at this point in time.
And, if I’m honest, I have loved and hated the journey, sometimes at the exact same time. When you build stuff for yourself you are, at the most fundamental level, you’re greatest critic and your biggest fan.
You see, in a strange way, you fall in love with the idea of what you want to build and then you start working on it and realize, at times, that you hate the result that’s been manifested. It’s as if the idea of the product was just simply better as an idea and not a real, moving product.
I’ve mentioned this before but it is the inescapable burden and curse of being a creative, an artist. Everything in your head is perfect and sublime. Everything that your body creates, that your hands form and mold and put together ultimately end up being a really shitty form of what you saw in your mind’s eye.
Every… single… time…
Most folks quit when they realize it (and I don’t believe this is necessarily a bad thing). I think it’s entirely okay to throw away good work to make room for great work.
Something that I’ve conditioned myself to do, over time, is simply finish the job that I started, even if I end the work really badly or poorly. I have not always finished well, but, I am someone who finishes.
Most of the time it goes unnoticed and completely unrewarded, which is good and fine by the way. Some times, rarely, people notice and you get a few more clicks than you had originally anticipated.
This feels good just like a fresh glass of cold water on a hot day feels. It’s temporary and fleeting. Usually, my mind is already somewhere very, very far away and I’m already thinking about the next perfectly sublime idea that I hope, naively, that I won’t entirely fuck up this time.
But that is the artist’s dilemma. It is the question that gnaws at your very soul: Do you start and finish and live with the gross understanding that what we ultimately build and ship to the natural world will never be the supernatural version that we believed it could be?
Or do you start and hide your work, ashamed that it would never be what you thought it could be? I empathize with this, I really do. I understand, but, please realize and understand that building and creating and shipping something publicly is a gift that you can give to the world, in every form, perfect and imperfect.
Continue to ship those special, unique gifts. Be someone who finishes.
Also published on Medium.