Setting yourself up for success

Tips for getting ready for the prompts

Group discussion question

What medium(s) and constraints are you considering for the challenge?

Sound off in the chat thread or below in the comments!

I think of time-based creativity challenges as easier to execute because it’s creativity within constraints. Not too many constraints where you feel stifled, but enough that you hopefully won’t find yourself staring helplessly at a blank canvas.

With this being said, there are a few ways to set yourself up for success. All of these are tips and jump-off points! You don’t need to do any of these if you don’t want to. One tip may inspire a different action for you.

Decide on medium(s) & any additional constraints

Choose your medium(s)! It can be one or two or a combo. Then determine any extras. For example, if you want to write an essay every week, what minimum word count or page do you want to hit? If you choose photos, will it be one or a set? Will it be on film? Or paired with words or in black and white?

My best advice here is to pick the medium(s) and constraints that make you nervous but excited. Maybe you’ve been wanting to do photo essays for a while but always had some excuse on hand on why you can’t. Take this as the opportunity to do that thing.

Set the scene & time

If you have a busy schedule, putting an hour in your calendar dedicated to this challenge could be helpful. Creative work done within a time constraint is still creative work.

Where ever/whenever you plan to do this work, ensure the lowest barrier to getting it done. This also follows the general advice of getting a habit enshrined. If you want to start running in the morning, set the socks and shoes out by the door and have your running outfit chosen. So when you wake up, it will be an easier decision and lower barrier to execute this.

If you choose ceramics, book the studio time. Sketching? Make sure the sketchpad has plenty of empty pages and that there’s lots of life left in the pencils. You get the idea.

Interpret how you want

This is supposed to be a fun time, an inspirational time. A prompt can kick off a short story or be a cameo in a 30-second video clip. It may even spark an idea that is seemingly unrelated—if this happens, please share the thought process that got you here! I love hearing about how people’s minds connect topics in different ways.

Be supportive

Lastly, this is a supportive group effort! Encouragement is welcomed. So are your worries. You can share your work or work in progress whenever you want as long as it’s on the respective week. The chat feature in Substack is in-app only, but there, you can upload photos or post links. If you fall behind, don’t sweat. Skip a week or catch up.