At the beginning of December, I set a goal to make one thing every day during the month. 31 days, 31 things. The goal was to try to build habits of creation rather than consumption, to turn myself into more of a maker.
I didn’t reach the goal of 31 things, but I did stick with the challenge through the month and ended up created 19 things in 31 days. I thought I’d post some reflections on the process, but first, here’s the list of the 19 things.
1: Japanese Lure Brochure (design)
2: Photoshop Effects Photo (design)
3: Basketball Photo Album (photography)
4: Pixel Art Tree (digital art)
5: Photoshop Effects Photo (design)
6: App Icon (design)
7: Hologram Video Viewer (craft)
8: Prezi Presentation (design)
9: Stressed Out Doctor Emoji (design)
10: Mailbox (woodworking)
11: Pixel Art Airplane (art)
12: Pixel Art Landscape (art)
13: Chicken Fajitas (cooking)
14: Pixel Art Running Man (animation, art)
15: Pixel Art Swordsman (animation, art)
16: Pixel Art Dragon (animation, art)
17: Pixel Art Panther (animation, art)
18: Pixel Art House (art)
19: American Flag Drawing (art, design)
I learned quite a bit this month, both about myself and about living more of a life oriented towards creating things. Some reflections…
- I make less at work than I thought. When I started, I thought I’d end up making a lot of things from work responsibilities, but that turned out not to be the case. I’ve learned that I spend more work time in administrative tasks than I realized. Also, the creative projects I do at work are larger projects that require weeks to complete. Of the 19 things I created, only 3 were work related.
- Finding time to create things is challenging. A big part of this is my lifestyle. With work and family, there often isn’t time to create something during regular weekdays. In the beginning, when I was trying to keep up with the daily creation pace, I’d find myself sitting down to create something at 11:30 at night.
- It’s important to remove the need to create something of quality. In the beginning, I was hesitant to post an image of something that sucked. Because most of what I created just wasn’t very good, I was hesitant to post what I made. Toward the middle of the month, though, I started to realize that you have to give yourself freedom to improve, and you can’t do that if you’re worried about creating things that are really good. (This of course ties to growth mindset.) Once I stopped worrying about what people thought of my stuff, I had a lot more fun with this.
- Making things takes time. Making something every day was incredibly challenging, and somewhat counterproductive. Even little things that I tried to do took a couple of hours or more. Things became more fun when I fell off the pace of finishing one thing each day but decided to keep going anyway. From that point on, I averaged one thing every other day, and that felt like a much better pace.
- I like art. I didn’t know that before I started this. I remember reading an article on parenting, and one of their recommendations was to have your kids try lots of different things until they found something they like to do. This month felt like that to me. At first I tried to create lots of different types of things, but as the month went on, I found myself gravitating to drawing things. I worked in a pixel art course pretty much every day in the back half of the month, and found it rewarding, relaxing, and fun. At first I felt guilty about this. I felt I should be making something new and different every day. But then I didn’t care and just ran with the desire to draw. This was the coolest thing about this challenge, that I’ve discovered digital art as a new hobby.
All in all, I’m really glad I tried this, and strongly recommend it if you’re trying to model a life of creation to your students or kids. The only change I’d recommend is that you create one thing every two days, rather than try to make something every day.