Old, Flawed Work is the Jumping Off Point

In my podcast yesterday, I shared my final lesson-learned from Art & Fear, which was that flaws are useful in making art. I always end the podcast with a writing tip, so you to look over your early work and find pieces where you didn’t live up to your intention.

This blog is nearly 20 years old, so I have a lot of old, flawed posts. For the rest of the week, I’m going to look for posts that had a good idea, but didn’t do a good job of expressing it.

Here is the process that I’m going to apply:

  1. Find a post that feels like it has no point, just a bunch of related ideas. (I have a lot of these)
  2. Figure out the single message or takeaway I wanted to convey.
  3. Remove everything that isn’t part of that message.
  4. Reorder the text to make it clear what the point of the post is as soon as possible.
  5. Title it to support that message.
  6. Add whatever else it might need to convey that single message.
  7. Make it more specific to my intended audience: software developers and managers.

It’s what I try to do now in new posts. I outlined this approach in Write While True Episode 5: Audience and Message.