Delegating the hard (or tedious) stuff

I have bound some books myself. It was interesting, it looked nice, sometimes even professional — but it was never fun. Printing the pages in the right order, folding the paper, sewing the pages together in four-page-blocks, and finally creating the cover and gluing everything together — it takes too much time, energy and money. It effectively stopped me from making any new books, even when I had content to fill them with.

But today, there are easy solutions to this problem — book-on-demand services like Lulu for example. They allow me to focus on the content and delegate the tedious part to them. I not only made Organizing Creativity (the first version) with Lulu, but also a short novel (with a story intended only for myself) and — the latest project — a book of quotations.

A few years earlier I would have printed the pages myself, I would have sewn them myself, but I doubt that I would have been satisfied with the result. And, at the moment, I only have time to create a book with InDesign (or rather structure the content and assemble it, because none of the images or quotations are mine) — so it would have never been realized at all.

I think there are a lot of projects a person wants to do, but they do not get realized because one crucial step is not possible at the moment:

  • You might have a brilliant idea for a dress that fits you perfectly (not only your body, but also your style), but you lack the level of sewing necessary to create it.
  • You might have an idea for a program but there is one area of programming that you are lacking.
  • You might have the idea for a great children’s book story, but you lack the ability to draw.

These ‘lacks’ will effectively stop your project if you really want to do it yourself completely. But do you really want to do this? After all, where do you start? Did you really create it yourself if you did not weave the fabric? Did you really create it yourself if you did use frameworks in a program? Did you really create it yourself if you did not make the paper by hand?

At one point or the other you must use the products of other people — so essentially, you are using their help. What you create, what is important in most projects is usually only part of the project. The design of a dress. The architecture of a program. The story being told. So, why not focus on that key aspect yourself and use help of others for the rest? Ask a professional seamstress to create the dress according to your designs — and listen to her input. Get a friend to help you with the program, chances are a professional computer programmer knows some algorithms that you never heard of. Ask a friend or a fellow participant in an art class to draw the pictures to your story.

You might end up with something that is specifically your own where it counts — you created it. But thanks to professional help, you could realize it and have it available in the first place.

Happy delegating 🙂

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