Status on Hiatus

I’m still on blogging hiatus because I’ve been busy with a challenging year-long interactive project. This is an enforced hiatus, not a vacation, and it’s been driving me a little nuts. The plus side of my time away from writing: I’m learning a lot about relatively-modern video game development technology and authoring. The down side? I really miss writing and working on my own projects. However, this period of enforced time away from blogging has helped me see what I want to do more clearly.

Here’s what’s been on my mind.

creating mission statements

Over the past couple of months I’ve realized that I just like writing, and writing is a form of thoughtful expression. I’m quite obsessive about it; though I haven’t been writing here, I’ve been writing long emails and documents for projects. I’ve been writing more emails to my friends. I can’t help it. Ideally I would be able to convert this obsession into paying work, and it would be like getting free energy, but instead of jumping right to marketability I decided to start with a simpler expression of what I naturally do very well:

I write about that which catches my eye, relating the experience to what I know, sharing what inspires us.

That’s the fundamental mechanism, my primary tool, the way I always work. I believe that as long as I follow this and produce material, I’ll be on the right path. There are a number of ways to apply this mechanism, and clarifying those applications for next year will be part of my redefinition as a writer/designer/inventor. Although it might seem like a really dumb time to play around with my design services during a down economy, I think actually this will be a good differentiator because clarity sells, especially when the future looks particularly murky. Or so we shall see.

new work aspirations for 2009

I plan to do a lot more writing unrelated to the productivity and design work I do. Or rather, I should make it clear that my productivity and design work is inspired by everyday people. I’d like to meet and write about such people on a regular basis. This past year has been one of tremendous personal growth, and I’ve learned that I just like finding out what people are doing, where they came from, and where they want to go.

There are a number of forms and publications I want to get back to in 2009, along with the usual yearly form updates. I think 2009 will be the year I start putting together some more targeted use cases for the various Printable CEO and other forms. It seems like a natural evolution. I also am still planning on producing some more pre-printed forms; some Emergent Task Planner forms are still available, btw, if you visit the secret store page. I’ll probably bite the bullet and give Amazon Fulfillment a try this year after I do a second print run of pads. If there is another form that people would like to see produced, let me know!

I also plan on continuing to pursue the evolution of my freelance design process. This is a three-pronged approach:

  • Investigation : Essentially, an interview of the client to establish the “plot” of the project and the desired physical product. The result of this phase is a succinct description of the real project, goals, motivations, and expectations. It generally takes a couple of hours, and the deliverable is a 4-6 page report that identifies what I think the key issues are in a manner that can be used to create a design brief, project spec, or mission statement.

  • Innovation via Storytelling : Writing out the story and supporting players that will shape the desired physical product. One could easily plan out a dry production schedule with milestones and deliverables, but I would rather write a “product screenplay” that introduces plot twists, shifts of perspective, moments of anticipation, and life-affirming encounters to create an interesting overall experience for everyone.

  • Scientific Creative Method : I’m not a stylist designer, and I can’t pick colors or shapes based on how stylish or trendy they are. However, I can apply tangible design principles that I know have certain effects on people’s perceptions and emotions, and from that I can create a design that is functionally attractive while delivering the intended message.

<

p>In essence, the work I do has to connect with an individual in a meaningful way, so my emphasis is on clarifying and communicating that meaning throughout the process and with the product itself.

I’m still planning on developing the freelancer peer reviewed network; I did get several emails from people with their information, but I haven’t yet moved forward on this. However I did set up a freelancer network wiki page for development based on the principles I outlined.