Making & Publishing

Being creative often means that you are a maker. You produce something of value to yourself and/or others. So what is more important? Is it the making, or is it the shipping? Is shipping your work ever as important as the process of making it? Or is it always as important? I’m not sure. It probably depends.

CJ Chilvers wrote an excellent little piece about being a publisher. He makes a great point that in our world today, almost everyone is a publisher. In his words:

Whether you currently label yourself a photographer, a blogger, a podcaster, a writer or even an occasional Twitterer, we’re all publishers now.

He also says this about the importance of publishing:

I believe “publisher” is a much healthier lens to adopt for looking at our work. It forces us to focus on the end product (the image, the book, the tweet) instead of the trappings of our of niche communities.

It forces us to focus on the part of the process that tends to be the scariest. Finishing and releasing the product of the work can make even the most prolific artist break out in a cold sweat.

That brings me back to my original question. What is more important—making or publishing? In the past, publishing was a conscious act done with intention and purpose. Now, people are publishing every minute. To me, there is no less value to publishing your thoughts on Twitter or your photos on Flickr that publishing a 10,000 word blog post. The value of something published comes from the value gleaned from that something. An Instagram can me more valuable to me than an article in The New York Times.

So now that everyone is publishing meaningful content, the publishing part has become less obvious. We don’t think about being a publisher when we hit that tweet button. So does that mean that the making of the content is more important?

Obviously I apply this to writing for this website. I consider myself to be a publisher as much as I do a writer. I don’t think those titles should be reserved for authors of novels or magazine editors.

While publishing my writing here does force me to put a little more though into the end product, I grow as a writer not by publishing, but by writing. So when asked for a title, I say writer, not publisher. I really get a lot of joy from publishing though, because I like to put my thoughts out there into the wide open.

What’s the point of all this? I’m not sure. I just know that being a maker in today’s world is easier than ever. And publishing the stuff that we make is also easier than ever. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t publishers. And even though publishing is so easy, it doesn’t mean that we should put less thought into how and where we publish our stuff. It doesn’t matter whether you publish words, photos, music, art, or software, you know the importance of creating something and then showing that thing to the world. It’s scary, but it is also scary rewarding.