Woodworking in contrast to content design
Labeled under: Content Strategy, Idea Journal, Craft
Near the end of the summer, I assisted my father-in-law in building an additional workbench for my garage. It was one of my first woodworking experiences.
The completed bench now rests over our washer and dryer and acts as an extra workspace for myself or my wife.
I’m definitely a novice woodworker. Those of you who know me know that I spend 40 to 60 hours a week working on content design. Yeah, these hands are much more for writing and typing than woodworking.
My goal, however, is to be a handy homeowner. So, I’ve been learning from my father-in-law and his friend, who know quite a bit having roughly 60 years in combined construction experience. Each time he takes the time to show me how to do something, I can’t help but notice how much of a contrast it is from my day-to-day.
It’s not just the change in scenery from a windowed Downtown Portland office to a pair of sawhorses, boards, and tools. It’s more of the switch from the intangible to the tangible. There’s more risk. There’s a higher need for skill and accuracy.
There’s no undo command with carpentry like there is with content.
It’s definitely an interesting contrast to working with pixels. There’s obviously much more permanence in wood. If you screw up, there’s no real turning back. Drill a hole in a wrong place or cut a piece too short and that’s it. You’re stuck with what you have.
There’s no iteration that you would find with something digital, like a social media campaign, a web site design, or publishing articles. If you mess up on the web, you can always remove or edit the content.
Iteration is also a funny thing. While I can look over months of data, notice a trend, and apply that insight to digital content, all you can really do with wood is attempt to disassemble it, rebuild, and finish it. Doing so typically reduces its overall durability with each reworking.
That shift is there at the micro-level as well. When I inaccurately drill a hole too far to the left, all I’ve got to work with is that hole that’s too far from the left. No “control-z.” No editing.
As for written content, one quick session on the web server or database and that’s it—updated!
However, social media shows permanence with gaffes.
As iterative as the web can be, the people won’t forget public relation or social media gaffes by brands. We’ve all seen our fair share.
This might be the equivalent of drilling a hole in that shelf a little off the mark. You’ll still get the shelf done, but people will always notice the extra hole and ask what happened?
We should all be thankful for the leeway with digital content. Even if we create assets that fail, there’s always a chance to rework them into something usable. Or, we have systems in place to remove, reassemble, or eliminate bad content. That is, if you’ve got a solid content strategy in place.
Onward to new adventures.
I’m excited to learn more about woodworking as much as I am about content development, strategy, and management. I believe that the care and urgency in something as permanent as carpentry and woodworking can lend a lot of benefit to my immediate gratification-based internet-heavy career.
If I break something, it’s broken for good. NO DO-overs. Imagine bringing that mantra to work on an iterative, long-term content project. It might do me some good.
Both are different, but both require care, patience, hands-on experience, and knowhow to truly be successful and appreciate the work and its value. These are all things I believe we should all strive for, even as crazy-paced as the internet and our careers can be.