Set up Surfaces

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Updated November 3, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Creative Doing, by Herbert Lui. 75 practical techniques to unlock creative potential in your work, hobby, or next career. Purchase now for instant, lifetime access to the book.

It’s tempting to see your work as either complete or incomplete. Perfect or crap. But there are many different stages of your work and, accordingly, many virtual and physical places you can store your work. This is essential to taking action and releasing work regularly. You’ll need to prepare spaces to incubate the work you don’t feel so good about, the work that hasn’t reached a stage that you can call acceptable.

A surface can be any place you’re performing or storing your work. One surface could be private, like a folder or a box that no one else will see. Another surface could be semi-public, one that you show to people you trust. Still, another surface could be entirely public, ready to show the world.

Set up at least three different surfaces—one for storing your works in progress, one for sending to other people for feedback, and one for displaying your finished work. You can choose how visible each surface is. You can set up more, if you like. Vin Verma started his own surface, which he calls Futureland, to track his daily routines and creative activities. He has grown it into a network of digital journals, where people can either publicly or privately track their own progress on their projects.

Take Someone Behind the Scenes

One of the simplest ways of communicating value is showing the effort that actually went into the work. That might involve literally showing the process of making it, though it might also be more biographical. You may ask yourself, and answer, questions like:

  • When did you first get the idea for this piece of work?

  • How did the idea start?

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