This is going to be one of those things that seems all grand (and grandiose) today, and it only gains power and momentum if I actually go through with it. This is dangerously close to reinforcing negative behavior since in a month this may all be a massive failure — negative self-talk cycle.
So, I’ve often pointed to Mark’s stretch daily as a source of inspiration — he documents one creative act per day. The last few months have been spotty, but in general he’s amassed a nice portfolio of work simply by doing one small thing every day that stretches his creative mind.
Ira Glass talks about the importance of just making large volumes of creative work. And pretty much EVERY missive on creativity insists that you have to just fail often and fail quickly to get to the good stuff. (see War of Art and Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit).
Ergo, “to make creative stuff, you just have to make creative stuff.”
SxSW (despite all its problems this year), never fails to inspire me in some way. A lot of it is simply, “Oh my, these people are not doing anything interesting and yet they are seeing successes” followed by the dreaded “Oh no, I’M doing even less interesting things.”
The truth is, I’m not devoid of fascinating projects. I talk to people about dorkbot or other things I care about and I get reactions like, “Your face lights up when you talk about that!” What’s clicking now are the many events and evangelical promotion of geeks and other cool things I’ve done and have in the works.
My anxiety right now is that I don’t actually want to just be a vehicle for other peoples’ interesting work, but I also want to be a source of interesting work. Being the huxster and promotions guy is a powerful and fun rush, but really, doing those things AND having established credibility as a maker of interesting work is a one-two punch, I hope. Somewhere I can envision myself having a wonderfully fulfilling life.
I’ve done little projects in my garage, but an in act of hypocritical omission, I’ve not been very good at showing these things to the world (fear of failure, fear of critique, etc.)
I’ve pontificated on the creative process (i.e. living leads to observations leads to wondering leads to tinkering leads to building).
But it’s all just been a whole lot of talk.
Because I do have a bit of a need for structure, however artificial, I need to create for myself a framework — a set of rules around work — that I can choose to abide by.
So here it is:
- For the next 365 days, once a day, I will complete a creative act that requires less than one day of effort to bring through the creative process.
- For the next 52 weeks, I will complete a creative act per week that requires a weeks’ worth of effort.
- For the next 12 months, I will complete a creative act that requires a months’ worth of effort.
- This entire experiment will last one year and will represent a year’s worth of creative effort.
- Everything I do, I will share online and/or offline.
- This is not just computers, robot-building, or programming — it can and should cover lots of different creative media.
- creativity is not just about art. creative experiments can happen in business, volunteering, etc.
- The rules are to be followed in spirit with good faith effort.
Why do this? Why set myself up for failure?
Because right now I have no idea how I can do this, but I know with certainty that it’s something I want to do.