The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

I made this

One of the difficult steps in creating a product is to step up and share it with others. It is to say, look here, I made this.

What makes it difficult, is that every time people create something, they put a part of themselves into the creation. There is a purpose, there is a vision, there are feelings, all of which are seeking to be expressed and to be seen. In between, there is the craft.

By showing what they created, people put themselves at risk. They ask themselves if they will be understood. That is if what they saw when they imagined and created the product is also what others see in it.

It makes the answers “it is nice” and “I like it” safe answers.

They don’t say anything and keep the relationship afloat through shared appreciation.

If there is a bit more content, it will usually point out some visible details. The reaction stays within something that feels like common ground: facts.

They give an insight into the person’s opinion. It is a personal view of the product, an evaluation the person does from her perspective and worldview.

None of these reactions look at the story that comes with the product. None establishes a connection with the person showing up with her product.

It’s a language problem.

Making our product is the struggle to figure out what it is. It means to develop a vision, to give it a purpose, and to align our craft with it. Starting out, none of them are clear. The craft needs to be learned, vision and purpose need to either be found or defined, and both depend on one another.

It is work that develops the product’s language.

The language for the product itself is on another level. One that will never be a perfect match as it involves the feelings and associations which are also transferred with the creation.

The closest we can come to find that language is to show up with our creation and share its story.

To develop the language we need to go a step further and share the story with someone willing to lean into that struggle. Willing to look at the product through the creator’s eyes as well as their own. The difference between the shared stories will help our story and its language to emerge.


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