Let The Great Experiment Begin: October Challenges Are All The Rage

It’s true, I like to challenge myself. Sometimes. Here’s the thing with setting goals or participating in challenges like Vlogtober, Inktober, Blogtober, etc. They all have a deadline. You do one thing every single day for the entire month. Having that deadline is key because you will reach a point where you think, “Why did I decide to do this stupid challenge?” Knowing there is an end in sight makes it a lot easier. If you set a goal to make one new drawing or whatever a day without a deadline it’s just not sustainable. You’re going to burn out. Goals need to challenge you, but they also need to be attainable otherwise you set yourself up for failure before you even begin. These goals/challenges with deadlines are something I’ve been into for awhile. They’re fun. They help keep me productive. And they also put some things into perspective. Things like how much time I waste doing things that don’t matter. Do I really need to watch that scene in Wolf Of Wall Street again? The one where Donnie asks Jordan how much money he makes in a month? No, I don’t need to. It’s a great scene, but it’s not really helping me accomplish anything.

Yes, I just watched the scene now to get that screenshot. Luckily, this time I can use the excuse that I “needed” it for this blog post. It’s taking all my will power now to not watch the scene with Spike Jonze. I love that one. Anyway…

I’m definitely one of those “flying by the seat of my pants” types when it comes to projects I’m working on. (And life in general, when I think about it.) It’s sort of like I’m productive, but I rarely feel accomplished. This is why I love these challenges. There is a stated objective and a deadline to accomplish that objective. On the last day of the challenge I get to tell myself, “I fucking did it!” It might sound cheesy, but nobody can ever take that away from me.

Here are a few challenges I’ve done that were really hard to do, but I was really stoked to have actually pulled them off. I once wrote a 50,000 word novel in one month. I filled an 80 page 5″ x 7″ sketchbook in 24 hours. I made one video a week for 3 months. The past 2 Octobers I took on the Vlogotber challenge, which is making one video a day for the entire month. Here’s a little plug to get some views on Youtube (don’t forget to subscribe too):
Vlogtober 2017 – My idea here was parody videos on what it’s like to be a famous art vlogger.
Vlogtober 2019 – This time around I made art advice videos to help out other artists.

Now honestly, these are all goals that can be accomplished. I know they can because I did them all, but they all required a lot of sacrifice. Not just personally, but to my family. When I wrote the novel in one month it was when Elliott was about 4 months old. The two years I did Vlogtober were pretty tough because I have a retail shop that I’m in about 60 hours a week. I could usually only record after hours and then I’d have to edit the video too. My family was seriously neglected during Vlogtober. The deadline helped them as much as it helped me though because they knew I’d be back to normal at the end of the month. I would love to do Vlogtober for a third year in a row, but I would like to see my family this month. To be honest though, I would totally do if running my retail shop didn’t take up so many hours a day. I would say there is about an hour of editing for every one minute of completed video. All day long I’ve been thinking, “Well…maybe I can just do raw, unedited, one-take videos every day.” But, I don’t have it in me. I tried making one the other day and although I attempted to film it all in one take after about twelve takes I realized I would be better off filming clips and editing them all together and then I’m just back at what I did last Vlogtober, so no thank you.

Needless to say, I really want to take on one of the many October Challenges and I’ve been beating my brain all day deciding which one to do. I landed on Blogtober, writing a blog post every day for the month, because it’s something I can do during business hours and it won’t cut into my art making time, which is after business hours. I really need that art making time because that’s the bread and butter of this operation.

Just before writing this post I toyed around with the idea of having a goal this month to do just one of the challenge things a day. Make a video one day. The next day make a drawing. The next day write a blog, but now that I think about it that’s just too loosey goosey for me. The thing that attracts me to these challenges is the structure that I lack during the rest of the year. Also, I would like to write and document more things on this blog. I seriously think about posting on here every day and then I never do. My last post was back in March, which is pretty pathetic. And when you think about it, blogging is all encompassing. If I want to make a video sometime during this month I can write about it here and share it with you. If I want to draw one of the Inktober prompts I can do that and write about it on here.

So, for 2019, BLOGTOBER is my challenge of choice. I will be posting one blog a day for the entire month. I have no idea what those posts will be, but it’s a challenging goal and I am going to kick this goals ass.

See you tomorrow!
– Jeff

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