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Advice For Completing Projects

Warren Ellis, novelist and comic writer, wrote a great post about the best way to complete a project that people will want to consume. He frames it around Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible web project

Part of his point is that you have to earn people’s trust before they will pay attention to something big. Instead of starting with a huge epic or a full length feature, start with something small and manageable and build.

The three strongest points he makes are, “Be Short, Be Bold and Get It Done.” Later in the article he adds, “Be Great.”

He adds:

I can’t tell you how many new hopeful comics writers I meet who have never finished anything in their lives because their intended first project is a hundred-episode epic that creates a whole new universe or three. And I tell them all the same thing: you’re screwed. No-one will want it. Not until you’ve written something short, capable of being produced on a budget, and finished. Your epic may be worldchanging, but no-one will ever know because no publisher will gamble that kind of money on an unknown. And that’s before you get to the vagaries of the attention economy.

I think this is fantastic advice, especially with web content. I know people who won’t even start a video on youtube if the length is over five minutes. Produce enough brief, memorable stuff and people will flock to your longer, more complex stuff. Build an audience, create desire with tiny savory snacks before you serve up a meal.

Also, limitations can be a powerful way to inspire yourself. Challenge yourself to Be Brief, Be Bold and Get It Done!

Read the whole article here

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