Creative Challenges Aren’t About What You Produce

If you’ve been following me on social media these last few weeks, you may have noticed that I am currently participating in a couple of creative challenges and I intend on seeing them through the rest of year. Some of my friends have called me crazy for trying to tackle two creative challenges at the same time, all above and beyond my regular “day job” as a professional blogger and freelance writer.

Maybe they’re right.

Then again, maybe they’re not.

I decided that I was going to post at least one new photo every day for all of 2017. I’m tagging all of those photos as #Kwan365 on Instagram. Part of the objective there is to document my day-to-day life as a work-at-home dad and online professional. Another part of the objective is to offer something new and interesting to my followers each and every day.

Perhaps the more difficult of the two challenges is that I have been posting weekly vlogs on YouTube. Some of these might involve attending an event. Others are shot primarily in my home office with me talking about a subject that’s important to me. Either way, I’m posting one new video each and every week.

This might not be quite as ambitious as the 90 Day Video Challenge — you can join the Facebook group to keep up with that if you want — but it’s still a rather substantial challenge. While it is certainly disheartening when some of those videos don’t get quite as many views as I had hoped, the actual number of views and even the actual videos themselves aren’t really the point here.

Don’t get me wrong. Lots of views is certainly a good thing and I couldn’t be happier if a couple of my videos suddenly went viral, but that’s not really the point. It would just be a very happy side effect.

When you work in any sort of creative industry — and make no mistake, blogging is very much a creative endeavor — it’s far too easy to get into a funk. You might hit the ground running with all sorts of unbridled enthusiasm, but that fire in your belly can fizzle out. You might lose your inspiration. Worse yet, you might get comfortable and your quality can start to slide.

If you want to keep your body in good shape, you need to exercise those muscles. You need to go for a run, a swim or a bike ride to get that heart pumping. And if you keep doing exactly the same exercise in exactly the same way, you’ll quickly start to see diminishing returns. You need to change it up. Those in the fitness industry might call this muscle confusion.

Your “creative” muscle, your brain, functions in much the same way.

By taking on a creative challenge, like posting a new picture every day or uploading a new video every week, you force yourself to come up with something new, innovative and creative on a regular basis. You hold yourself accountable (or join a group to hold each other accountable) to this strict schedule.

At the end of it, not only have you developed a habit, not only have you accomplished something amazing, but there’s a good chance that your skills have dramatically improved as a result too. Practice might not make perfect, but it sure gets you a lot closer than doing nothing at all. Your pictures will be framed better. Your videos will be more entertaining.

And you’ll be much better poised to face the next challenge again.

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9 thoughts on “Creative Challenges Aren’t About What You Produce”

  1. Hi Michael,

    I have read somewhere in comments where the discussion was about writing blog posts every single day versus focusing on writing quality posts even if it is not on regular basis. Both of strategies are quite challenging.

    As a result on my side, I ended up focusing on writing quality ones. But I find out that I am not updating quickly my blog in terms of new posts.

    So by reading this blog post, I think we always gain something by choosing to apply the first or the second strategy.

    We improve our writing and become more and more professional by trying to post on daily basis even though that’s not quite easy for beginners like me. Because of the other amount of things we do aside in our daily life.

    And we when we post quality content, we retain our readers on our blog. The will come back sooner or later to check for new posts. That’s of course good for google ranking mainly if they keep sharing the contents they like.

    That being said, from now on, I will take the two strategies into account.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  2. Yup Mike, I totally agree with your points

  3. Hey Michael,

    very goog point. To asnwer to Vincent even me as a new blogger a don’t post everyday i did this at the beginning for nearly two months. What i m doint now it s writing everiday but i m not posting. I start writing on some posts and i ll finish a other day just to keep the habit of writing everyday.
    And to get back to your point i did the same for the Marathon, and some other challenge because like you know pratice make perfect (nearly).
    thank for this post

    1. Hey Thierry,

      Thank you very much for for sharing your point of view.

      It definitely helps to know that we are not alone when it comes to talking about challenges beginners face.

      Have a good day and see you around.

  4. Hi Michael

    Post 100% of my alley dude. Good for you.

    I have written and published 2 guest posts daily on Blogging Tips for weeks, have written one there for months on end, usually write or create 3-4 guest posts daily, create 3 live broadcast videos daily – YouTube Periscope and Facebook – and honestly, I am letting go any attachment to views or shares because that stuff poisons your mind and dulls your creativity.

    You are doing what I am doing; creating a viral online presence. Amazing practice for really rocking it out online because when you are in 14,000 places at once, making impacts, people take notice.

    Of course, to develop a viral online presence you need to be hyper creative. But as noted; creativity is like a mental muscle, as the more you dip into your creative well the more creative you become. It is a wonderful process.

    I have written 126 eBooks, over 1000 guest posts and have created thousands of videos during my online career. Raising the creative bar only makes you more creative. Never buy into the fear-based idea that it burns you out, because the only folks who believe that are the ones who are afraid to become who they really want to be.

    Of course, the creating must come from a loving, fun and higher energy space, not a desperate space. Some folks go on these creative tears like a 90 day challenge with a fear-filled, force-filled energy, and either crash and burn or wind up hating the process. So it from inspiration mainly, not pure perspiration, and you will become more creative than you ever dreamed of.

    It will be lights out, as you appear to be everywhere at once in your niche.

    Keep up the inspired work Micheal. I am there with you bro.

    Thanks for sharing, as always.

    Ryan

  5. My friends have called crazy for trying to tackle to creative challenge.This is really hard practice.

  6. DNN says:

    Creativity fuels profitability and profitability fuels side hustle creativity. 🙂

  7. daniel says:

    Getting into the habit if creating and putting out daily content is a something I tried to do for some time.

    It goes well for a few days then ‘bang’ mental block.

    Maybe I was trying to do too much?

    I have gotten into the habit of re-cycling my content. I record a video giving away some good tips and updating what’s been going on in my business.

    Upload that to Youtube, add to my blog as a video post. Then mail to my list and share across all social media channels.

    Trying to be in all places at once. Visibility is credibility

    Great post guys

  8. DeVaughn says:

    We should all do some type of creative challenge. Especially if your online marketer / blogger. I personally challenge myself all the time. I gives you confidence and discipline.

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