Fear and Perfection

Steph and I were talking about my blog the other day, and she said that all the redesigns I’ve done of it (I think I’ve done four now, and she’s the only one who has seen all of them) were better than what I currently have, but for some reason I’ve stuck with what I currently have for well over a year now. The only reason I was able to give for that odd fact was that the other designs were never ready. She, being the artist, then taught me that nothing is ever ready, and it’s better to put whatever you’ve got out there for people to see than to sit around and tweak it in the hopes that it will somehow become a masterpiece. Because it probably won’t, and no one will ever benefit from it.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m giving myself a deadline of Saturday the 24th at noon to work on and post whatever redesign I can muster. But I have to post it no matter how ready it is. So it might suck. And it might break stuff. Or it might be mediocre. But it must be up, because that’s when it’s due.

So, watch this space. If I’m feeling especially risky, I’ll post several tweaks throughout the week. We’ll see what happens. Maybe it’ll become an interactive design session between me and all of you!

24 thoughts on “Fear and Perfection

  1. Wow. You won’t have time to do ANYTHING but webdev between now and then w/ all the projects we’ve got going on. Your nuts. Oh, and I like the orange design the best so far. 🙂

  2. Ummmm, did the past designs just stink that bad that you deleted them? Why not take the parts you like from each one, or the one you like most, and work with it, rather than starting from scratch (at least, I’m getting the impression you’re starting from scratch)?

    If you really are busy, and starting from scratch, give yourself a couple weeks at least. Sheesh, I’m getting a little sick of the whole “too busy for game night thing” and you try to throw another thing in to keep you way too busy.

    The problem with your never having put a design up is just that. You never did. Set a realistic deadline that you WILL stand by. To stay sane, if you need two weeks, take it, etc. Your call of course but one week seems pretty short to start from scratch. *ahem* And me with no banner still. 😉

  3. Neal’s so gettin the smack down from me….

    First of all, you can’t “take the parts you like from each one” because, while they may have worked in their original contexts, they probably won’t work together. It’s like taking the parts from all of your favorite novels and putting them together. It has to be start from scratch, unless you’re trying to make a collage website which will probably 5uX0r.

    I was talking about a painting I’m working on w/ some of the other teachers. One of them looked at me and said (very sarcastically), “And you have time to work on that WHEN???” As if to say, “Woe is me! I don’t have time to do ANYTHING I’d like to do!!!” I just kind of looked at her and said, “If creating is important and of value to you, you MAKE time to do it. That means saying no to other things.” I am super commending Josh for making the time to do what is his form of art. Kudos.

    Side note: I felt like gaming tonight, but I have too much homework. So, sometimes it goes back the other way too. Stupid homework.

    Setting the goal of one week is called a “short term goal.” It’s a baby step that people take in order to reach their “long term goals”, which are steps people take to reach their “lifetime goals.” Maybe you’ve heard of them?

    Oh…and you with no banner. Did Josh charge you for that? Maybe he should….

    (waitin’ for the smack-back….)

  4. *smacks back* Do I never explain myself well, or am I just assumed to be saying dumb things all the time? I wasn’t suggesting cobbling together old bits of code or even actual designs, I assumed he had ideas and paradigms about WHAT HE WANTED TO DO with past designs. Any design of anything, be it book, building, painting, or webpage goes through multiple versions, with some stuff sticking around, and some stuff going.

    I highly doubt earlier versions were uber craptacular, so INSTEAD of having to face the daunting “start from scratch,” work with what you’ve got already. What did you like? What worked, etc? It’s easier to start with a page that even has one sentence, rather than being blank.

    Nor am I saying Josh shouldn’t set deadlines or anything like that. Sheesh man, you’d think I hadn’t known you guys for years. Setting goals is good, setting impossible goals is different. Set a goal that will get work done, but not one that is unrealistic or will make you overly bitter. I didn’t say set the deadline for two years from now, I said TWO WEEKS rather than one. He works, has you, youth group, needs to relax some I assume, and was already working on web designs for other sites besides his own.

    I’m HAPPY Josh wants to redesign the site, and is taking the time to do so. He’s reminding me to keep working on my writing as well. Sheesh, I’ll stop giving advice at this rate.

    *considers the smack thrown down*

    And yes, I am aware the banner thing is being done pro bono. I feel the need to tease about it once in awhile, since we came up with the whole idea in November, and it would be nice to not see it go the way of the cart video. I do tease once in awhile, I think. 😉

  5. I don’t know. I kind of like the idea of a novel made up from all of your favorite parts of other novels. Maybe that’s not what Neal meant, but I say go for that! Or maybe not.

    Anyway, you’ve inspired me with this post, Josh. I’m supposed to be writing screenplays and sit-com specs right now, but I keep waiting until I have my plots fully developed. It kind of defeats the purpose of a “vomit draft.” I haven’t felt much like writing comedy recently, but I need to set some definite goals and deadlines for myself as well.

    Way to go, and good luck!

  6. Heh, and what’s really funny, Steph, is the fact that some of what I said stemmed from what you said in your first post. He wouldn’t be able to do anything but webdev in his free time, but hey, maybe that’s what he wants to do every waking hour that he isn’t working.

    Mike, I hear you on that one. I usually need to remind myself to just get out what I can though, as if I don’t, the stuff just remains not written, or takes way too long.

  7. I think I understand what Neal is saying by encouraging me to move my deadline out a week. He doesn’t want me to kill myself to get it done on time and deprive myself of sleep and Stephanie and any other life necessities.

    But what I’m trying to do here is purposefully not wait until it’s finished and ready. I will not under any circumstance have the finished product by Saturday. (Boy, I’m a programmer so that last sentence came out quite easily…) But I’ll have something drastically different from what you see here and now up on Saturday, and it will be a work in progress.

    I want to post it before it’s done so you all can see the process I go through and how I think. What do I start with? What do I add later? What is an afterthought and what is harder to finish (thus getting done later)? I think it might be fun to see, and fun to get feedback on while it’s happening. So feel free to comment in this thread about the design (and then probably future threads as I post it and change it).

    Significant changes will be up by or before the time I mentioned previously. I’m not saying that it will be the finished product. It will not. But it’ll be different and it’ll be a step in the right direction.

  8. LOL. That you do Eddie. Not too bad all the same, however.

    Josh, have you changed anything here yet? The blog titles are squishing down on top of a green line above the blog text for me, right now. So yeah, squished=bad, in my book, but maybe you’re in mid-process?

  9. Well, I am still changing things, but I wouldn’t say “squishing down” as much as I’d say “sitting on top of” as an object might sit on a shelf.

    Still, I’m just tweaking a few smaller things to test some stuff out before I go for the larger overhaul.

  10. If you have a couple different ones you are working on you could use a piece of javascript to switch between them so we could rule your webdev-ing community style. I know it is always what you wanted… (waves hand in large sweeping motion)

  11. Here’s my question: Are you redesigning joshlewis.org or blog.joshlewis.org? Cuz I really want to see what’s “Coming soonish.”

    Also, I like the “squished look” as Neals put it. I don’t know if I can really explain it but because the title of the blog and the first sentence are so close together it sort of gives a sense of urgency about having to read what comes right after the title. I must admit, when I saw the new title line, it made me stick around your blog a little longer.

    Any way, good luck – and just remember, no matter what anyone says, spinning anything on the website is a bad idea.

  12. Oh, and I haven’t actually seen the “orange” idea that Steph talked about in the first post, but orange sounds very intriguing.

  13. Glad you like the squashed! I decided to de-emphasize the dates that used to hover above every post (or every grouping of posts) and put the dates in to the “Posted on” line because I wanted the words themselves to be the star rather than the date those words were posted on. I like how you picked up on that with the “urgency” you mentioned. Very interesting.

    And yes, you haven’t seen the “orange” yet. Very few have. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa!!!!

  14. Josha-develper is awesome. He has cool ideas. AND ONLY I CAN SEE THEM BECAUSE I LIVE WITH HIM!!!!! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

    I digress…

    I think you should check out this site for some inspiration. Especially the animated gifs in the middle. Dance, Jesus, dance.

  15. AH! And in the last one he turns into a cat! These blasphemers must be punished!

    Heh, it looks even a bit more different now than it did last night. If you’re going to do a line, a solid green one like now is much better than the dotted one you had last night (similar to the not to be mentioned 4 squares). Hmmmm, I like the idea about taking the dates out, and I think I’m rather liking the “squishy effect” (OH! such a thing has never been done before!) now, it’s not too cramped, and it’s different from the usual space thing. We’ll see though.

  16. You never answered my question:
    Are you updating joshlewis.org or just your blog?

    As for the website steph mentioned for insperation, I personally like the image of the dead rising – it’s the one toward the bottom.

  17. Abby, I was actually originally going to leave that answer for you to see when I posted. I’ve already hinted at it, but I guess I’ll take a pointer from Steve Jobs and pre-announce the downers rather than making you wait for it.

    I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the http://www.joshlewis.org stuff. I had thought of moving my blog over to http://www.joshlewis.org, but then I would create this strange orphaning effect with all the other blogs on my site since they would be on blog.joshlewis.org sub-domain and I wouldn’t, and it could become confusing… and… you know.

    So I’m probably going to redirect users from my http://www.joshlewis.org site to my blog automatically. I’m not going to try to create all the “audio” and “video” and “photo” sections right now. I’m just going to get my blog working. Maybe when I’ve got more time and some honest-to-goodness content, I’ll actually use those other sections. But not now. This blog is the reason people come here, so it’s going to be the thing that gets 95% of my attention.

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