Friday, February 27, 2009

if it can be done better, good isn't good enough

If you're interested at all in the indie craft community, you're probably well aware of a recent documentary called Handmade Nation. It's not a great film (bad camerawork, among other issues), but it's worth seeing. It features interviews with all sorts of crafters, people who do things like sewing, bookbinding and needlework.

What struck me was that there didn't seem to be much talk about the actual craftsmanship of the crafts. Some of the handmade goods highlighted in the film were downright hideous. Personal tastes aside, if I'm going to spend money on something handmade, I want to know that it's not going to fall apart, that it's well made and that there was some effort put into it, that the maker has pride in his/her work.

Where am I going with this? Whether you're a crafter or an editor, you should pay attention to the craftsmanship of the work you produce. It's not just the ideas you come up with that matter; it's the execution of those ideas that's going to determine how much mileage they get – and ultimately what type of reputation you'll build for yourself. For a crafter, that means making sure your stitches are straight and there isn't glue seeping out everywhere. For editors, it means, among many other things, having the fact-checker make one more call, just to be sure, and not settling for a photo because you're tired of searching the stock files for something better.

And that's what it comes down to: Don't settle. Put conscientious thought into the work you do, be willing to toss something that's not up to par, and take the time to do the job over, if that's what needs to be done. Don't take the easy route just because it's less effort or there's no time.

Work hard, be proud.

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