In her new book, The Big Thing, New York Times business journalist Phyllis Korkki explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.
Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.
In the course of creating her own Big Thing, this book, Phyllis explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Phyllis also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth. Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose.
I discovered that working on a big creative project is as much about not doing, as about doing. You need to give your ‘Big Thing’ and yourself a break throughout the process, both literally and figuratively.
Before you embark on a ‘Big Thing’, it is important to look inside yourself and understand your main motivation.
To finish a ‘Big Thing’ you must complete a series of much smaller things. But these smaller pieces are all related and connected to a large whole that you have created.
Making a commitment to the ‘Big Thing’ is imperative. You may need to do it publicly and enlist others around you to hold you accountable.
About the author
Phyllis Korkki is currently executive editor of Hooked, the storytelling app. Previous to that she was an assignment editor for the Business section of the New York Times. She is a native Minnesotan and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. Before joining the Times she was an editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She loves napping and reading mysteries (especially dark, humorous Scandinavian ones) and has written two mysteries of her own for National Novel Writing Month. The Big Thing is her first published book. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat, Foxy Brown.
Why LoA loves it….
If you have ever battled procrastination (and let’s face it, we have all been there at some point), especially when it comes to tackling a really big passion project that you have been putting off until you found the right moment to start, then this is a book for you. Author Phyllis Korkki speaks honestly about her own procrastination and how she gets over the inertia that comes with starting a really big project. This book (her own Big Thing) is proof that it’s possible to battle the fears, to get over the hurdle of getting started, and then make it to the goal line. Definitely one to read for anyone needing a good burst of inspiration to get started on that Big Project! --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa