Crank out

March 3, 2012

It's not right to ask someone to crank out something that requires any thought or ability and expect it to be any good. It's sad how the term gives the work a diminished level of difficulty, like, since you're able to crank this out, it's no big deal, just put your head down and do it.

Good work takes multiple days. The first iteration is the first leap, the first cannonball into the water, but you're nowhere near the other side yet. It's got a shape, but it's when you take a breather, sleep on it, and come back the next day and the next and mold and cut and stick other things in it that it starts to take its real form.

If you think about it, that's scary. Every day you put something off, that's at least three more days until you have something that's of any use to anybody. But it's exciting too. You could start something today and in a few days, you know it's going to be much farther along than it is now, maybe even done, if you keep at it. Just trust the process.

Okay, so there are things you can crank out. The stuff that you think doesn't require much thought or ability. But what you think is crankable might not be so much to someone else. What I mean is, there aren't many things that doesn't take any thought to do. So how about we avoid the term altogether? Trust me, you'll avoid a lot of under-the-breath muttering.

And if you absolutely have to crank something out, think about cranking out those first drafts, the frustrating half-done probably-going-to-throw-away pieces of work. Crank them out so you can get to the real work of whipping them into shape.