In December 2008, I signed the Agile Manifesto.
Agile development refers to a process of designing software that is customer-focused and favors results over process. There is a lot more to it. Read the principles if you are interested.
The key points are responding rapidly to an ever-changing environment while keeping in mind the customer’s goals and needs. It also involves accepting that those goals and needs may change at any point.
At EPICon 2013 I heard a speaker refer to the modern writing and publishing industry as requiring all aspects of the field to engage in agile development.
Gone are the days when an author could spend 20 years writing a work of stunning genius. Now, the key is rapid production of material that will be enjoyed and consumed. As writers, we have to remain flexible. Explore new technology. We need to constantly research new methods of marketing and productivity while continuing to produce. We have to expect that what works for producing this book may not work for producing our next book.
In reality, I suppose it isn’t that earth-shaking of a concept. I’ve lived by the manifesto for years before I ever heard of it. I just never thought of applying agile development to my writing career. As I listened to the speaker, I realized that this is exactly what I haave been doing the last couple of years as the industry has changed. I’ve been adapting my processes and setting up a system that gets results.
Fascinating. So what would the Agile Manifesto look like for writers? Here’s my guess:
We are uncovering better ways of writing stories by writing and helping others to write and publish.
Through this work we have come to value:
Pleasing our readers over the best sellers’ lists
Telling the stories we have to tell over marketability
Producing books while learning our craft over striving for perfection
Responding to change over following traditional methods
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
What do you think? How would you rewrite the manifesto for modern writers?