Notes on

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

by Seth Godin

There is no magic. It's just about sitting down and doing the work.

A few short points

  • Don't worry about perfecting, just focus on the process. Ship, then perfect.
  • The practice, the process, that is what's we can promise. Nothing more, nothing less. Outcomes are not guaranteed, but a good process usually leads to a good outcome.
  • You are never given complete instructions for anything important.

Long-term games

Focusing on short-term outcomes is not a good thing. Didn't get an immediate win? Well, then you must be bad, and you should quit immediately and go find something you can do.

No. Good, long term outcomes come from a good process repeated over time. The process is what really matters, the outcome less so.

You cannot just decide to be the best. You can't just make a masterpiece. But you can do your very best, every day.

Good decisions

Decisions are decoupled from the outcomes. When dealing with future events, there's a whole lot of uncertainty involved. You cannot determine the outcome, only influence it.

You might choose what would result in success 70% of the time, but if this time was one of the 30%, does that make it a bad decision? You could also make a 'bad' decision that ended really well. Does that make it a good decision?

Annie Duke writes about this in her book, Thinking in Bets.

Pay yourself first

Always saying yes to everyone's requests can very well be a bad thing. You'll spend all day in a reactive mode, never getting to serve some of your own work.

Make time for yourself. Pay yourself first.


There is no magic

The magic of the creative process is that there is no magic.

Infinite games

The infinite game is a catch in the backyard with your four-year-old son. You’re not trying to win catch; you’re simply playing catch.

Chop wood, carry water

When we stop worrying about whether we’ve done it perfectly, we can focus on the process instead.


We don’t ship because we’re creative. We’re creative because we ship.

Good process, good outcomes

The process, not the outcome. That’s the heart of our practice. Good process leads to good outcomes.

Do it every day

Build streaks. Do the work every single day. Blog daily. Write daily. Ship daily. Show up daily. Find your streak and maintain it. Talk about your streaks to keep honest.

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