The Code of the Crucible
As a creative individual and collaborator, I live by the Code of the Crucible. The Code is simple: Burn everything you create. Do not suffer a weakness to live. Surround yourself with others who believe in the Code of the Crucible.
Burn everything you create. Anything unworthy will be consumed. Anything worthy but unfinished will be shaped and refined into something stronger. Anything worthy and finished will be tempered.
Do not suffer a weakness to live. There are people out in the world that will treat your work with scrutiny, with skepticism, with viciousness. So if you are not doing that to your own work before releasing it, you’re not finished. Weakness will breed more weakness, and the outside world is good at sniffing those weaknesses out.
Surround yourself with others who believe in the Code of the Crucible. Sometimes you will hesitate to burn what you create. Sometimes you will hesitate to kill weakness. With allies that will do that with you, your work will not suffer for your momentary weakness. This isn’t just a suggestion — you need allies to bring the full heat of the fire.
I’m posting this up so that anyone who ever asks for a critique or takes me up on such an offer, or wants to work with me, understands where I come from. There are two phrases that, if you say, will cause me to I’ll apply twice as much heat:
“But I like that” and “Because others do that/it’s a a part of X genre/other reason that’s poorly thought through.” These are excuses for shitty design and content. When the answer is stronger, about what exactly it’s doing and reinforcing, then that piece of the work is tempered. It is only through this process that you fully understand what you’ve made.
I’m disappointed in creative individuals who don’t apply the fire. I’m disappointed in those who have the potential to be awesome, and allow weakness to keep them from achieving that. But nothing disappoints me more than when I am tempted to be go easy on myself, because I’m tired or afraid that the fire will consume all of my hard work. So I live by the Code of the Crucible, to keep myself honest and true to my purpose.
After all, rarely do people decide to make a piece of shit. That just ends up happening when you allow weakness to rule over your process. When you allow fear to take control, or rush something unfinished because of arbitrary and unrealistic deadlines (especially before you’ve gained the skillset to work that fast). It happens when you let things slide. And when that happens, and you publish, those compromises can’t be taken back. You have to live with knowing you left known weakness in when you handed it to others.