Social-media maven/gadfly Chris Brogan once wrote about “the difference between ship and shit.” Chris draws this genteel distinction between work that is ready to ship, to share with the world — and work that is not.
No sweat, you think. You ignore the stuff in the latter category. Yet these pungent works — be they records or books or films — continually find their way into your media stream. And to what end? Well, if you’re an artist or author, they are actually showing you where to draw the line.
Drawing the line has nothing to do with making your work “perfect.” Perfection is an abstract conceit that lives in your imagination, an ideal you will never actually reach. So forget that. Focus on what you do. You are in the business of making something unique and conveying it to someone else.
In a media world saturated with content of all sizes and shapes, it is hard to stand out. Lots of people are creating acceptable things, stuff no one will abjectly hate, and if you want to stand apart from them, you have to do something different from what they do. You have to refine your work, make it distinctive. As an artist, you have to make it something no one else could have made. Once you’ve done that, you can pull out a nice, handmade box — and ship it.