My Creative Process
Start hitting the keyboard without thinking will never lead to success. Having a well thought out idea of how the site will be structured and what the content will look like is the key to success. It’s not what the site will look like, but what information and how it will be presented. And it’s hard work. You need to follow a defined process and demonstrate a high level of self-discipline throughout to get results.
After all, creating a website is the same as writing a novel. Movies give us the idea that the book is the moment of the idea and then the author just hits the typewriter and it’s done. Creative writing, on the other hand, is a painful process of thinking through a story well, a lot of preparation, and a gradual painful process of writing and rewriting. And after a few critical rewrites, the work is finally finished.
Those who embark on web development must reckon with the fact that:
- it will take a lot of time,
- they’ll make a lot of mistakes,
- it takes longer than expected to correct mistakes (generally everything takes longer),
- the enthusiasm wears off and you need to build a habit (at least a little bit every day),
- sticking to a plan is better than layering ideas over each other (creativity vs execution).
It’s only when one gets into writing that one realizes there’s a big difference between writing one email at work or a page to explain a topic on the web. Thinking about context and what level of knowledge one comes to the page with is so difficult. And the art of explaining things in a way that doesn’t get bogged down in concepts and impressions is tricky. The progression from simple to more complex is logical, but it’s a lot of work to implement.
And then the relentless competition comes into it. The web doesn’t stand on its own, but must fight in competition with others. There are not only friends, but also those whose visitors are fiercely fought over. But that belongs elsewhere. So here’s how I eventually went about it.
What creative process paid off for me?
Surprisingly, the path to success is not much different from what we were taught in socialist elementary school. When we had to write a style paper (which I was quite fond of, fortunately), the first thing we had to do was write an outline.
And it was always the same:
- The actual narrative
- First block
- Second block
- Third block
In the end, I arrived at a process that may seem relatively lengthy, but it was worth it because I got clear on what I wanted the entire site to look like in terms of content when it was finished. Plus, I knew it was going to be a church-like job, because I’m not considering a few pages, or even dozens, but touching on several hundred interconnected pages as a result.
So… what helped me get to the end result?
- Study a few books on Human Resources and what their structure is.
- To see what and how some sites write about Human Resources Management.
- List all the topics they write about and where I found them.
- Make a table of all the topics and in a few passes determine which chapter and section to put the topic under.
- Determine if the topic is for a separate page or if just a mention is enough.
- Determine what other topics the topic is related to.
- Design your site structure and URL structure.
- Determine your writing priorities - that is, from where to where. It’s harder than one might think.
- Throw yourself into writing.
And how to write the first (and next) page?
For a page, a process that is very similar to writing a paper in elementary school. First, there’s quite a bit of thinking about what the page should say and what it should look like.
You also need to think carefully about whether it’s just a supporting page or if it’s important to the site as a whole. Because the important ones deserve much more care. It’s a lot about SEO, which is an unfamiliar concept to Human Resources, but it’s moving the online world for a change.
The online world has the advantage of being able to be inspired by how others are doing things. That said, sometimes it’s nice to lightly copy how others are doing things. And just add some innovation of your own. It’s a kind of Asian method of competition. If something works, I’ll copy it because they’ll copy me.
So to write a page is my process:
- Write the theme of the page.
- Clarify the linked topics, whether they have a page or just need a light explanation.
- Clarify the keywords that are important for the page.
- Write an outline for the page.
- Write the first draft of each subtopic on the page.
- Rewrite the first draft.
- Let it sit for at least 24 hours.
- Re-edit the second draft.
- Add a picture if needed.
It seems lengthy, but they didn’t build Rome in a day either. Creative writing isn’t about the idea of the moment, it’s hard work, even if it’s presented a little differently afterwards. Without a comprehensive idea of how the page should fit into the overall concept, it can’t turn out well. It will never get finished.
How to learn to focus again?
The whole process of creative writing can still get seriously hacked and poisoned by one problem of modern civilization. We don’t know how to focus anymore. Flipping to the latest news, checking out a bit of a Netflix movie, looking at a few Instagram photos, all of these things distract us from working productively towards our goals.
It’s so easy to procrastinate. From there, I dove into the Pomodoro Technique to clearly define my path to my daily work goal. It’s a simple technique to help a person focus. It doesn’t prioritize and task like other GTD (Get Things Done) techniques, but it does help with how to stay on top of something once I get going.