Every year #Inktober happens I watch as my fellow artists take on the difficult task of attempting a new ink drawing every day for the month of October. For many years I just stood in the sidelines watching everyone else and telling myself “I could never do that. I could never stick to a new drawing every day for 31 days. That's beyond my abilities.”
I was pretty surprised to learn from one of our community members that many people actually prepare ahead of time for Inktober. Months in advance they prepare sketches or completed ink drawings so they can stick to the rigorous daily posting schedule.
Is it us? or is it the challenge?
While some would consider this act cheating, perhaps this demonstrates a problem with the challenge itself. People have shit to do. They have day jobs, family to care for, attention issues, time management issues, or whatever things that might keep them from sticking to the requirements of the challenge.
Inktober lacks the sort of flexibility that artists need in order to complete the challenge in a way that feels successful to them. And the realists or pessimists among us won’t even bother to attempt it if we know we can't finish it.
Nyatara, a friend of mine who's also a novel writer and runs the Silicon Valley Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers meetup, was telling me that similar problems exist with NaNoWriMo.NaNoWriMo, challenges authors to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It's at a time of year when the holidays are gearing up, people are starting to get busy with family obligations, and general holiday chaos. It's no wonder most people don't complete the challenge and end with feelings of failure.
A more realistic challenge for the rest of us
Both of these challenges suffer from the same problems.
- happen at a busy time of the year
- have a fixed goal that doesn't take into consideration the needs of the creative people who participate
- lacks peer support to help cheer you on and keep you motivated from start to finish
So Nyatara and I started asking ourselves “What if...”
- What if we were to create a challenge where artists and authors can both participate?
- and could choose a goal that is realistic for them?
- and not have it happen at the time of year when things are most busy?
- and have regular check-ins with peer support to help cheer you on and help you through the hard parts and distractions?
We've dubbed this challenge Create your Own Adventure and it will span two months, from April to May. It will be a joint challenge for both the Silicon Valley Sci Fi Fantasy meetup and PaperDemon.
Stay tuned for more details. Registration for Create your Own Adventure opens later this week!