What Came Before

When I first made 52 Things in 52 Weeks back in 2007 my release schedule was “One ‘Thing’ Every Week for 52 Weeks”. I successfully met that goal, and at the end of 365 days I had created:

35 pieces of music
6 paintings/sketches
5 scripts
4 short films
1 animated .gif
1 sculpture

The final product was never the goal. (Though I ended up liking some of the things that I made a great deal.) The goal was simply to see if I could get past the fear of putting work out into the world no matter what I (or other people) might think about it.

One of the things that I’m experimenting with here at ’52 Things v.2.0′ is making creativity a habit. Creating ‘things’ consistently within a predefined schedule. What can be challenging at times is finding the right balance to that release schedule. The idea is to first make the act of creating a habit, and then to expand upon that habit in such a way that it allows me to make larger and larger works.

With this newest version of ’52 Things’ I want to:

• Make things. Make lots of things. Put these things out in to the world for people to see.
• Make these things consistently.
• Find a release schedule that allows me to make both small works that can be finished in 1-7 days, as well as larger works that take more time to fully develop.

The weekly release schedule of 52 Things v.1 made it difficult to make larger works that required more time to create. (One of my inspirations for starting my original ’52 Things’ was Jonathan Coulton. I’m still amazed as his ability to make so many fabulous fully developed ‘things‘ each week.) I think that I’ve discovered a way to meet my goals for 52 Things v.2 by using the Seinfeld Strategy.

Here’s the gyst of it from James Clear’s excellent article:

Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. In an interview on Lifehacker, Isaac shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic.”

Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld…

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

That pretty much sums up what I want to do. I want to work on my craft consistently. I’m using the structure of ’52 Things’ to provide a certain amount of accountability. I know that every Monday I’ll be putting a post out there into the world saying “This is what I made this week.” Every week those posts will contain at least one thing for the world to look at. Some weeks those things will be big. Some weeks those things will be small. There will be weeks where there is only one ‘thing’. There will be weeks where I’ve finished multiple ‘things’. I think that this strikes the right balance that I’m looking for.

The great thing about ’52 Things’ is that it is evolving. I’m still learning what the site can be and I’m brainstorming ways to help other people find their own creative persona. In fact, it’s evolving so much that I’ve created a Version 3.0. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about the site.


52 Things. Make something. Rinse. Repeat.