I happened to catch an interesting programme on TV the other day. A famous car manufacturer was building one of their luxury sports cars, entirely by hand. It was incredible.
I love making things, and have attempted many different projects in my time. I also love to watch how things are made, so I was riveted. The attention to detail was simply amazing.
Everything was meticulously planned, from creating the bodywork, cutting out the expensive leather, to all the extras a luxury car commands. Cars are very complicated machines, and seeing one being built from the ground up was amazing. The dedication and teamwork were inspiring to say the least.
These days, we are shown how most cars are built by robotic machines. That is truly amazing too, in its own way.
It suddenly struck me that what I was watching was very similar to how everything is built. Or should be built. First comes the idea, then the planning. Sourcing the materials comes next, then all the groundwork and experimenting. Assembly is the most important stage, knowing the right order to do things and a good eye to ensure accuracy.
I could be talking about a car, or even a house. A sofa or a book. Could be anything really. But apart from a set of plans, you need something else.
When I was younger, I worked for a dress designer. Not on the glamorous side of things either, or one of the machinists who sew all the dresses together. My job was quality Control and I had to check every seam and stitch to ensure every single dress was perfect..
The designer insisted that nothing left the workrooms without being meticulously checked with a fine toothed comb for anything that was not up to standard. Now everyone involved with the creation of these very expensive dresses had done their very best work, from the cutters right down to the finishers, but you would be surprised what my trained eye could spot. It only takes a bad day, or a row with a husband, or the baby keeping you up all night, and mistakes can happen.
Have you ever bought something, got it home only to discover a seam coming undone, or a button missing? A battery that won’t fit, or work when you do manage to get it in?
How many cars are recalled because they have been released with a fault, sometimes a dangerous one?
Quality Control is obviously not what it was, and it’s a shame. We pay good money for things and we deserve better.
This is what has been happening in the world of Indie publishing a lot of the time, I have heard. In our haste to be published, substandard work is being offered to the public. It is so easy to self-publish now, and if you do mess up and miss something, you know you can always pull it back and change it. I know, because I have been guilty of this too in the beginning.
I have heard that some books are being uploaded without proper editing or even a spellcheck! I thought I could dispense with the bother of having my work beta read, but I was mistaken.
It has to be wrong that it is so easy to let standards drop like this. In the beginning, I thought I would never get the hang of any of it, but I soon learned how. And because of all the mistakes I made along the way, I can now do things better.
Should it be easy to create a masterpiece?
From my own experience, if anything is too easily accomplished, it usually means something is missing or has been overlooked.
What do you think?