Formatting is Queen
Formatting is key to clarity. Clarity of idea, clarity of messaging and clarity of what needs to be done.
As someone who has taken on hundreds of projects over the past 15 years, I have learned a ton about organizing the process of taking projects from an idea to actuality. One of the easier ways I have found as a way in is through “one sheeters”: a one pager of info that acts as an encapsulation of the entire project (who, what, when, where and why). But the actual process of laying out that one sheeter is formatting which is what I want to explore today.
Formatting is for both you and/or your collaborators. It’s a simple way to digest information and to organize your thoughts.
What is my idea?
Most creatives have a boatload of ideas always swirling around. Laying out your thoughts in a formatted fashion in preparation to share with someone else will only help YOU clarify the very idea you’re considering. It will help to bring up questions and more ideas all in service of moving the project along.
Is it clear?
As you prepare to share the idea for general feedback or open it up to potential collaborators, the clarity of your idea will be key. In fact, I’ve often just thrown an idea out verbally or otherwise only to have it be misunderstood which has a tendency to throw me out of sorts earlier than I need to. Why? Because I haven’t taken the time to format the idea in a way that’s allowed for me to get clarity before asking for input. Taking the time to make sure your thoughts are not only there on the page but also organized and formatted in a way that truly makes sense will help all involved.
What needs to get done?
Artist’s Strategy stresses the “how”. Always. How am I going to manifest this career of mine? Similarly, formatting allows for us to identify the key pieces of the work ahead that need to get done in order for us to create a budget, form a team or engage a graphic designer. While I’m formatting, I often think through several things that will need to get done, and voila, my action items list begins to create itself. Ultimately, it brings order to the whole.
Formatting tends to be one of the pieces of the puzzle that most of our strategists roll their eyes at. “Uh – I literally have 68 things to do, why would I stress about the cleanliness of my five year plan?” I get it. But – consider it a life hack. The clarity that comes from the power of formatting will more than likely encourage you to take your work further.