Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Importance of Keeping a CV (or a Backlist if you're a musician)

I've always liked Seth Godin's daily bits of wisdom. 

Here, he espouses the idea of keeping a "backlist" of everything you've created, which is much like maintaining an academic CV, except it is much more public.

Besides being as a resource to direct people back to your work, Godin points out that keeping backlist has a subtle, yet very important function:
You’re going to become a lot more aware of the posterity of the work you do. It’s all on tape, all left behind. Just as you’re less likely to litter in your own backyard, the person aware of his backlist becomes more careful and civic minded.
In other words, if you make it easier for people to see everything you've created, you're more likely to focus attention on producing quality work.  It's a focus is directly applicable to many creative endeavours, including science.  If make it easy for everyone to see your CV and what you've decided to spend your time on, over time, you should become more selective of what ends up on it.

Sometimes producing great work isn't about producing a lot and selecting only the best examples, it's in avoiding the projects you shouldn't be wasting your time to begin with.