Note: I wrote this on the day I launched my personal site. It was a small project, but one that has a lot of meaning to me. I hope it will be something grows and takes on more significance.
Launch day always brings some unique feelings. One chapter closes, and countless others begin. There is anxiety. There is relief. There is possibility. The future, as Tom Petty would say, is wide open.
Anytime I start working on a project, the launch isn't the first thing on my mind. I'm excited about the idea, and envision all the places it could go. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I'll ever launch what I'm working on.
But at some point in the process, I make the decision that the project will go live. The launch takes on an air of inevitability. Then my mindset shifts to planning mode. I start thinking about all the tasks I need to get done before launch. I make lists. I set a launch date and try to work backwards from there.
While I love dreaming up big ideas, I'm often more comfortable in the planning mode. I get adrenaline shots from feeling like I'm making tangible progress. The momentum picks up and the project starts to feel more real.
But as launch day approaches, my doubts can start to seep in. The inner critic comes alive. I get stuck on tasks that don't feel quite done. The struggle of "perfect vs. good enough" plays out in my head.
To fight through this, I try to re-set my thinking. I go back to my headspace when the idea first formed. I revisit my original intentions with the project, and the potential I had envisioned. This approach can help me fight through those doubts and sticking points. That task blocking me may not be all that important after all. I may come up with a clever workaround to a frustrating obstacle in my way.
At some point, the project nears the point where it's ready to go live. The launch date firms up. I make a final checklist of all the QA and other steps before launch. Anxiety mixes with excitement. It's time to go.
I always try to pause and mentally check in with myself before hitting the switch to go live with something. Both to confirm that I'm ready, but also to sit with that feeling. The feeling of envisioning something, creating it, and – ready or not – putting it out into the world.
And then, I push the button. It's live.
Launch day is a beginning, but it's also an end. It's the end of the idea only existing in my head. The end of it only being mine. It can sometimes trigger a bittersweet feeling. That sense of disappointment after working hard on something and the final product doesn't live up to expectations. When you achieve the goal you had set, and you find yourself asking, "What next?"
But the beauty of creating on the internet is that launch day is only a beginning. After I launch something, that void left by the project starts to fill up with feedback I get from other people. I get ideas on how to improve on my work, or on what to build next. I reconnect with the vision state from the beginning of the project, while also seeing new possibilities.
After a project goes live on the internet, it takes on a life of its own. Friends, collaborators, and total strangers can influence the direction it goes. They put it in a new context, interpret it in a new way, or discover a new use case.
Even if you don't consider yourself a creator or a builder, I'd encourage anyone to find a way to launch something. Give yourself the opportunity to feel that feeling. It could be something small, or personal. You never know what it could grow into.
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