The 20 Second Creative Challenge

Image: CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash

“Life happens.” 

There are always going to be days—maybe, even weeks!—where you simply are occupied. On those days, you’ll need some really short, quick, ways to keep making stuff. This is a question I suggest in my book on creativity, There Is No Right Way to Do This:

“What can you make in 20 seconds?”

Vin Verma, who goes by the name Internetvin, has made music and written code every day for a year. One of his techniques is to find a way to do music or code in 20 seconds (e.g., in coding, writing just a single line, print(“way too tired..”)—I originally sourced this at his Twitter, which has since disappeared). 

Similarly, one of Bierut’s students, Zak Klauck, made posters in less than 60 seconds per day. Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, has made an original illustration every day for over a decade. He spent just a few minutes on days he had food poisoning, as well as on the day his child was born. 

How the zettelkasten supports your creative process

For the past year, I’ve written note cards almost every day—I’m at nearly 800 now. My 20 second variation is to write an idea down on a 4×6 note card sometime in the day. It doesn’t take exactly 20 seconds most of the time—but the point is, I can always spare a few minutes to do this. 

Life gets busy sometimes. The trick is to find ways to make progress in a matter of seconds. On days where you have little time to spare, this 20-second variation will make sure you keep progressing. 
If you want more ideas and starting points like these, I wrote a book about creativity entitled, There Is No Right Way to Do This. If you want to improve your creativity for your full-time job, or independently pursue creative skills and projects in your spare time, this is the book for you. It’s also the perfect companion for people doing or interested in trying daily creative challenges (such as #The100DayProject, #100daysofpractice, or SketchDaily).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *