Here's the thing: over-simplifying


Every Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple. I’m a big fan of clarity. I’m a big fan of editing.

With so much stuff to read, things to do, decisions to make, it’s no wonder that there’s a growing trend towards modern minimalism. We’re going back to basics all over the shop – and it’s great!

But. (And you knew there was going to be a but…)

Sometimes it’s possible to over-simplify. Sometimes we cut out some of the really interesting, juicy stuff because we feel like we need to be on point. Or maybe we worry that no one will care about that important nugget.

For example, you might be writing a description of one of your products, and you’re trying to keep it simple and straightforward, so you describe it as very specifically for a single gifting occasion. Which is great, in theory, because people like knowing the occasion a product relates to. But maybe you miss out on another opportunity, another gifting occasion or use for the product that lots of people like. And you miss out because you were trying to keep it simple.

Or perhaps you’re writing an email, and you want to keep it fairly straightforward. But you don’t miss out a quick “how are you?” or a “have a nice weekend”. These things add to your connection with people. And connections are important.

And sometimes over-simplifying means we forget the truth about life: life is messy. Thoughts, feelings, to-do lists, the creative process – none of them fit completely into a neat and tidy little box.

So here’s the thing:

Today, or over the weekend, acknowledge where you’re really, really trying to simplify something that just won’t go. Notice what might get missed if you force it. See if you can spot the meaningful mess that makes up your life, your business, your creative process.


Need some help figuring out how you might be over- or under-simplifying? Take a look at my new services – there might just be something there for you. Or get in touch to see how I can help.

3 thoughts on “Here's the thing: over-simplifying”

  1. How very true and particularly apt with missing possible other gifting occasions. I find if you bounce ideas off other people then they will often see the obvious that you have missed when thinking you were being so very focused and to the point!

    • Always good to bounce things around with other people, especially if they’re like-minded and in on your audience (or potential audience)!

  2. Sometimes messy process is part of creativity. Our studio brainstorm sessions used to drive me crazy as we’d suddenly veer from a focused conversation into apparent anarchy – random subjects popped up, people would get rowdy, and one of my designers always ended up singing Lulu’s Shout (don’t ask – but I couldn’t make it up!). And then, in the middle of what I used to call “meeting soup” someone would say: “D’you know – we could always look at the campaign (or whatever we were brainstorming) like this…” and suddenly the answer would be there. You have to do the groundwork, and then let it cook.


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