Jeanne M. Lambin
4 min readJun 13, 2024
The Quest Journey Guide: Oxford Edition, 2026 (Photo by Jeanne Lambin).

Today a short reflection on making a “book” in an equally short amount of time.

🏷️ Meet the Quest

One of our signature workshops, The Quest: Improvisation for Transformation is about discovering the improvisational mindset and storytelling as means of exploring, experiencing, and making sense of the world.

In 2016, we decided to create a booklet (or as we called it ‘zine) because if we were going to send people on a Quest, it seems only kind to give them a guide. Created as a companion to The Quest: Oxford Edition it was part guide, part journal, part workbook, and all experimentation.

Pages from the Quest: Oxford Edition, 2016 (Photo by: Jeanne Lambin)

📘The Journey Guide

The process of creating the book was designed to mirror the structure of The Quest: experimental, improvised, curious, and time-specific. The 28-page book was produced within a 72-hour time frame and, just to make things a bit more complicated, with the exception of one page of printed text, all the content was handwritten and illustrated. During the process, mistakes were made, design ideas changed, content was added, content was removed, content that was envisioned was never made, and whatever the state it was in, when the timer went off, the book was complete. It was then assembled, scanned, sent to the printer, and it was done.

Why this method? Because if during the Quest, participants are asked to go out into the world with an experimental mindset, try things, see what happens, try more things, or keep doing the same thing, look, listen, respond, react, then it seemed only courteous for the book to do the same. It was meant to do mirror that experimental process in paper form.

Never underestimate the power of imperfect action.

Only 50 copies of the first book were printed. Because each Quest is meant to be a singular experience (sure it can be repeated but it will never be the same experience twice), it also seemed appropriate to create book that was unique, created specifically for that workshop, and once all the copies were distributed, would never be printed again. Here at Quest HQ, we have only one remaining copy of the book.

Second Edition of the Quest Journey Guide, cleverly given the title of Issue: 1 because the Booklet was re-imagined as a ‘zine. (Photo by Jeanne Lambin)

For the 2nd Edition, we created a font because lettering a book, even a small one, by hand is a bit insane. And in the spirit of keeping it improvisational, some pages were reused and re-incorporated pages (yes, and…).

Pages from Oxford Edition, reincorporated into the Second Edition.

This month, in advance of our upcoming workshops, I am getting ready to start work on the 3rd edition.

The method will be the same:

⏳ Decide on the theme

🧐 Do the research and compile sources

📄 Decide Number of pages, source printing

📋Storyboard the content/layout

⚡️Block the time

🏁 Begin

💭 Why this method is helpful 💭

⏳ There is a specific interval of time from start to finish so I can be better about protecting it and also not dragging the project along, kicking and screaming for as long as possible.

❌ Mistakes are visible. Yes, I am one of those people that will rewrite my to-do list. I can spend a lot of time starting something, never mind the reworking and reworking and reworking.

🌟 Letting go. In talking about creativity we can sometimes forget that to complete the creative act, a work must find its way into the world. As Rick Rubin noted, in his beautiful book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being,

“While the artists goal is greatness, it’s also to move forward. In service to the next project, we finish it so that it can be set free into the world. Sharing is the price of making it. Exposing your vulnerability is the fee (p. 350).”

Why I am Sharing This Post

And I’m sharing this post because I don’t want to. I’d much rather toil away alone at my desk and have no one be the wiser if I can’t pull it off.

And yes, that is an option, and yet, I’m sharing this because if I put the word out then I feel compelled to do it. And more importantly, If I believe in the power of engaging with a community of practice then perhaps it is helpful to share this practice. There might be someone out there who has an idea that over thinks things. Maybe there is someone who needs an increment of time and space for their idea to make its way into the world but wants a great swath of it, rather than a discrete unit. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Maybe that someone is you and you just need a little encouragement to engage in your own imperfect action. Well here I am!

Let’s start something!

Jeanne M. Lambin

I help people imagine, create, and live better stories for themselves, their communities, and the world.