The web is huge. It’s so big that it’s easy and natural to feel really small and unimportant. I often feel especially small since I’m trying use the web to make a living. Who cares about me? Who reads what I write or appreciates what I create? Hardly anyone, in comparison to the number of people who could.
I’m only now learning that even though the internet is huge, I can make it small.
Quality over Quantity
The craftsman mentality is something I try to apply to my work and my life, and it seems to fit really well into my growing understanding of web workmanship. The idea is simple: I find my specialty, and I stay there and do it well. I get to know my craft, and I get to know a few of the great people working in the craft. I learn to care deeply about the work and its workers.
Instead of trying to be the next sensation, I can casually enjoy the low pressure of the shadows. As a Little Web Worker, you can work hard, get feedback from the few who care, and let the ideas fly.
Contentment and Restlessness
I find myself often growing restless as I scan page after page of excellent work completed by men and women who are not me. This work usually has budgets higher than mine have ever been and has been commissioned by clients of whom I could only dream to have.
As I’ve felt this restlessness, God has reminded me to be content. Contentment doesn’t only mean “being stuck with what I have.” It also means “being thankful for what I have as I’m growing into something else.” I’m learning to be thankful for the work I have to do, while at the same time working, working, working for more exciting and fulfilling work.
The Little Web Worker Manifesto
So here’s my stab at an incomplete, ragamuffin manifesto for us web craftsmen, designers, illustrators, developers, and anyone else who likes it. This is just to get us started:
- I will treat my work as a craft - taking pride in my work by considering Excellence a better virtue than Speed or Riches.
- I will be content to work in the shadows for a time, staying faithful to my small band of comrades until my ranks move me higher.
- I will not grumble about my small jobs with their small pay - yet never be so comfortable with them that I should stop striving for the more choice work I really want.
- I will constantly choose humility over self-interest - never becoming so confident in my growing abilities that I refuse to help others who are younger in the craft grow along with me.
- I will remember that the web is a community, and the tradition of this community has always been to share knowledge rather than hoard it for myself.
Now let’s go make stuff!