My friend, Bill, suggested this post. We were talking about how raw ideas become something useful, when he asked me about a post I wrote last week: “Triumph to Tragedy at Ford.” After I outlined the process, Bill said, “You should make that a blog post.” So I am.
Most of my posts start when I connect two ideas. One is often a story from business history. Another common source is current business news. That’s what happened with this post.
In this case the ideas I connected were the “new” store-in-store fad among retailers with what I thought I remembered about Estee Lauder originating that concept to sell cosmetics. So I started with the working title: “Recycling Innovation.” It would be about how old innovations come back as “exciting, new ideas.” There turned out to be a problem.
I couldn’t verify what I thought I remembered about Estee Lauder. Nuts. Suddenly I didn’t have much of an idea, even though the “old practice” theme was kicking around in my head. I started writing.
I started writing what I was thinking and pretty soon, about five paragraphs along, I was writing about Ford and “Team Taurus.” You can read my post for details, but the team that designed the Ford Taurus initiated some practices that resulted in an innovative, popular, and profitable design. The Taurus saved Ford. The ideas could have kept the momentum going.
I wrote the zero draft and then the first draft. It ran to about six hundred words. Next I worked the revision cycle: Write-Read Aloud-Edit-Repeat. This post was revised six times. That’s high, but not unusual.
The early revisions took out things that were interesting (at least to me) but which didn’t move the post forward. They included details from Ford history and a list of the Team Taurus principles. I also took out phrases that I thought were great writing, but which really didn’t help the post.
Later revisions smoothed out the writing. Then there was a final spell check and it was time to schedule the post. The final post was about three hundred words.
Good writing takes work.
Verify your memory. I’m right sometimes, wrong sometimes, and partially right most of the time.