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Chapter 1. The case for doing it in public

Doing it in public can be emotionally challenging, technically complex, and constantly confronting. Why should you do it? What is all this for?

To silence the voice of “not good enough”

Every maker or creator (yes, that’s you too) has had at least a moment where they’ve doubted whether their work is good enough. For some people, it’s a fleeting worry that is quickly dismissed. If you’re like most people (including me), this doubt can be more pervasive, lying dormant in the recesses of your creative mind, ready to pounce on every potentially good idea with ruinous intent. This gremlin tells you to stop, to hold on, to wait until something is just right, until it’s perfect, because otherwise people will be disappointed or find out what a fraud you are. Sometimes, this gremlin may even win.

Here’s a way to defeat that gremlin for good: do it in public.

The reframe from “creating” to “learning in public” can have dramatic implications.

When you think of “creating” something, it can feel like there is an assumption of completion: if something isn’t done, can you really say it’s been created? But perversely, it’s the same doneness that can keep you from persevering or finishing. Creation can feel like a monumental summit after a mountain of smaller tasks.

In contrast, learning in public doesn’t require for things to be done. The very nature of doing it in public implies incompletion and the openness to further progress. Publicly announcing you’re doing it in public means saying to the gremlin (and to the world):

No, I’m not good enough. But I’m getting there. Want to watch?

This playful twist on insecurity and imposter syndrome, coupled with the invitation to participate, is what makes doing it in public fun and effective.

To be ethically creative

To open-source your knowledge

To hold yourself accountable

To show your work

To git gud