Aims for 2021

My aim for 2021 is to build in public, by writing a weekly blog.

I will also create and post art every weekday (so 5 times a week) on instagram.

Why

I was inspired by Zach Lieberman's Daily Sketches from 2016. By making and posting art daily, he built the habit of creating regularly, and over a year (and now far beyond) he built up a great body of work and a network of people also creating and interested in similar types of art.

Similarly, Anne-Laure Le Cunff's 100 days of writing helped her build up a great body of knowledge that is valuable to many people, learning through doing whilst boosting her own creativity.

I've been pretty resistant to blogging for a while. It felt like too much is pure self promotion, and regular writing schedules (especially daily) mean that a lot of it is going to be poor quality.

Similarly, I wanted my art to be finished before posting and, being a generally private person, wasn't comfortable with sharing everything in any case.

As far as I can see, these are still true. But despite that, or possibly because of it, it's still worth writing and creating art regularly.

Benefits

The first reason is to improve learning via the generation effect, i.e. actively creating your own version of something.

Writing forces you to clarify your own thinking, and posting it publicly reinforces that, even though it won't likely be read. It also makes you question why you are doing things a certain way and sparks ideas for alternatives.

After two years as an entrepreneur, my business hasn't worked out but it's a career path not a company, so this is a way to help compound learning over time and create a virtuous circle.

These are therefore notes to myself, with the aim of building a body of knowledge.

It will help me overcome the perfectionism that holds me back from publishing things, which will also help when iterating products.

It also has a positive impact on mental health, by having time dedicated to creating, reflecting and exploring, as well as the many little wins from finishing and publishing work.

Finally, and potentially most importantly, it's a way of networking as an introvert. I hope that by putting myself out there I will meet other like minded people, who share the same interests.

Writing topics

My writing will focus on creative coding, the digital art world and entrepreneurship.

I have a load of potential topics and I'm aiming to just get things out without worrying too much about the overall structure, with the aim of refining this over time once I'm in the habit.

Some likely areas:

  • Building a new digital art / creative computing festival

  • Lessons from my two years as a startup founder

  • Short guides to creating some of my artworks

  • Understanding digital art audiences

Art focus

My art will follow Zach Lieberman's model of taking an idea and playing with it for a few weeks to a month, pushing it in different directions and seeing what variants can be created.

I've started this already with my Infinity Room experiments.

My long term aim for creative coding is to create the abstract dance based artwork I've had in my head for a few years, which I'm iterating towards. So some of my work will be focused on learning the techniques that I think will help make that a reality.

I'm also inspired by a whole range of artworks and artists, and I'm intending to learn by recreating similar techniques and then using them to make my own original works.

Making it stick

I'm aiming to publish my blog every Friday, so it's done before the weekend.

Having a block of time, with a timer and a deadline, seems to be an effective habit, so I'll block out 2-3 hours on either Thursday or Friday to complete it, then review it once as a PDF, make any changes, then publish. This stops me getting too precious and making endless revisions.

My art aim is to have a weekday 30 min slot, for experimenting with existing techniques, and the occasional longer slots to learn new techniques or figuring out the structure of a piece I'm aiming to create. This is likely to flex a lot, and I'm not too concerned about the length of time, the main aim is the habit of regular posting finished sketches.

Having the small wins of finishing and posting art creates a virtuous circle as well, which I hope will be a positive encouragement to keep going.