Quick note about shipping

It’s 10pm and I’m tired.

That is, it’s 10pm in New Zealand, where I am after a completely epic trip.

On Thursday, we flew to London, then Hong Kong, then Auckland. Even though both the London -> Hong Kong and Hong Kong -> Auckland flights were about an hour shorter than normal, that’s a total of over 24 hours in a plane.

We arrived on Saturday, of course, because of the international date line. Now it’s Sunday.

This big travel thing is the reason I’m behind on the Your Questions stuff. I thought I’d get ahead and queue em up in advance, but the last-minute work on our JavaScript performance ebook was more like last-hours.

I got behind on one thing, because I promised myself I would ship that ebook on Wednesday.

Anyway, with that back story in place, I wanted to say that whatever it is that you’re procrastinating on, find a way to isolate the smallest possible part of it that can stand alone, and ship it.

Until last year, I had never shipped a real project of my own. I’d done my blog, sure, and I’d written articles, and the occasional cheat sheet, but those hardly counted. I was an interaction designer who’d never shipped her own project.

Then I spent a month in New Zealand, where I was accidentally offline for most of the time, due to a general lack of available internet access.

Something like that gives you perspective.

It forced me, totally by accident, to have distance from what I was working on every day. And all those little fires we have to deal with every day make it impossible to get distance. It’s amazing what your gut will tell you when your feet aren’t busy running around after those little daily disasters.

So I came back, determined to make a change—although I didn’t know what. (So I told myself. I knew what I wanted, but I was afraid to admit it, because what if that prevented me from dealing with all those little fires in front of me?)

A couple months later, I woke up with the feeling “Well, if they won’t pay me to do it for them, why don’t I just do it for me?”

I had this moment where I looked back on all of my ranting about bad software, and how people don’t get it, and how criminal it is that nobody sees the true extent of what can be done with x and y, and yadda yadda, and realized I was a hypocrite.

I decided right then to do something. I was fired up. I was excited.

Twistori was born that day.

And I’ve been shipping my own stuff ever since.

Every time I do it, it gets easier.

It’s more fun than anything else.

And heck, there’s money in it, too.

You should try it.

Put aside the old familiar excuses, tell yourself not to hide under your faux perfectionism, isolate a tiny indivisible atom of creativity, and ship it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not everything you wanted it to be. Nobody can tell but you.

Twistori was meant to be a lot more than it is, and nobody can tell but me. Because the plans are in my head, I look at it differently than everyone else. I look at it and I see things left undone. But everybody else likes what they do see. They don’t spend a single moment contemplating potential, invisible changes.

Yes, calling something “finished” is scary as hell. Yes, shipping is an emotional rollercoaster afterwards, too—even if the feedback’s all positive.

But it’s also an incredible rush, and each time it’s easier, and each time it gets harder and harder to justify just doing the daily grind without this thrill.

But let me tell you, it’s all worth it.

6 Comments

  1. bryanl says:

    "Every time I do it, it gets easier."

    This is the most important line of this entire post. I totally agree.

  2. random8r says:

    Hey, just a quick note to let you know after chatting to you for ages and ages, I’ve finally released my own blog. Woot :) hehe… but also that I’ve just released two iPhone/iPod Touch games which I agree with the shipping thing. It’s bloody so much fun watching your little "babies" out there in the world, and hoping they go well… :) Hehe… they’re awesome. Are you on twitter? be cool to follow u.

  3. Juuso says:

    "We arrived on Saturday, of course, because of the international date line."

    I know this is a stupid comment, but I just don’t get it. Surely you didn’t cross the date line? Isn’t the way from London to NZ just a long succession of off-by-one time zones?

  4. Amy says:

    Juuso, nope, we definitely crossed the date line. Right now it’s 12:16am on Wednesday in NZ. In London, it’s 11:16am on Tuesday. Ta da.

    Furthermore, we experienced 3 mornings (Vienna, Hong Kong and Auckland) while traveling for "only" 30 hours.

    It’s a mindfuck, lemme tell you.

    And Bryan, yeah, I agree. That is the most critical line :)

    random8r, congrats on shipping. Careful, it’s totally addictive. And yea, I’m @amyhoy on twitter. :)

  5. Ryan says:

    Great post. I’ve actually "just launched" a sort of real, but not really, project, called <a href="http://ballparkit.rpheath.com">Ballpark It</a>. It’s for creating and showing project estimates.

    Anyway, posts like this keep the motivation alive. Thanks!

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