No one ever checks out a book on preproduction. They basically don’t exist unless you're creating a feature film or a documentary.
Most things that we make are less sophisticated. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a plan.
Normally, I get an idea and follow through as quickly as I can without ever writing anything down. But if you take the time, you can make your creation process easier.
A content brief will help you take the time to consider ‘why’ you’re making something.
If you don't already have a template, open this doc up and make a copy of it for yourself:
The Content Brief is just a plan that helps to communicate to yourself and to anyone else that needs to what you’re up to. If it’s something you normally do, that’s great. If not, use this Content Brief Template and adapt it however it makes sense to you.
The main thing a brief will help you with is clarity. It will force you to say out loud what you’re trying to create.
Creating simple things is hard. It’s always harder than anything else. Don’t let a client confuse you by saying that what they want to create is simple or easy – they’re trying to undervalue the work that you do and minimize the amount of presumed difficulty that the work entails. When you don’t know how to create something, it can seem easy.