How to walk to Hobbiton and other 365/52 challenges
December 26, 2013 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I want to listicle my life in 2014. The web is full of 365 day/52 week project ideas like take a photo every day or cooking a dish from a new country every week, but short on the nuts and bolts of doing them. What kept you going? What made you drop the whole thing in March? What do you wish you'd prepared or done differently? What projects would you recommend from personal or friends' experiences? I'm interested in the process, not so much the project itself.
posted by viggorlijah to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of years ago I made a Papercraft of the Day tumblr. I don't remember how long it took before I hit the wall (a month or two I think), so the first thing I did was to collect a bunch of patterns and print out some of my favorites so there would always be something to choose from, even if I ran out of ink, card stock, or the printer broke. Knowing myself, I needed to avoid any possible excuse.

Some of the designs were very complex and didn't even include instructions; those would take hours over days to complete so as I worked on those I whipped up simpler designs to post daily. (Maybe it was cheating, but I considered finishing a design that I'd been working on a single's day's papercraft toy.) The other thing I did was save up a bunch of very, very simple patterns, like a simple cube of Minecraft ore that took just a minute or two to complete. The goal really became hitting that Publish button on tumblr by 11:59pm every day.

I really started feeling like a grind, to be honest, but there was enough variety to keep me going and enough shortcuts to get me through the rough patches.

I guess what I'm saying is, instead of saying "I'm going to run five miles everyday." I said "I'm going to run every day." I also set a daily alarm in the morning that I could snooze, and allowed myself to break down even the most simple designs into very easy tasks. And even though I did the project for myself and didn't do anything to promote it, the fact that I collected almost 1000 followers, including some of my favorite papercraft model designers was really encouraging on the laziest days. I was too shy to make it a MeFi project, but I bet that would have helped motivated me a lot.

It was just a silly little project but since follow through is not one of my strengths I'm really proud of it.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:28 AM on December 27, 2013

I generally stick with these things, and what helps for me is to have a plan in place for recovering after (inevitable) missed days. Doing two the next day, or writing down what photo I would have taken that day and taking a photo of that. Or that 90% compliance is good enough. I also add it to my to-do list program so that I can check it off and get a daily reminder.
posted by xo at 6:45 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I started using 750words as a way to write the daily pages from The Artist's Way. I have an alarm on my phone at 9.30 every evening to remind me if I haven't written them yet, but typically I write in the morning as recommended.

As others have mentioned, it's helpful to have a 'cheat' if you can't focus that day. Mine is to write until I feel dry, and fill in any remaining quota with Lorem Ipsum.
posted by a halcyon day at 7:23 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm posting an update, but not marking this resolved as it's still only February. The things that have worked so far is prepping in advance, from getting the books I want to read in a stack, making a list of the recipes to cook, booking theatre tickets, printing out the poems to memorize and so on. Also being very flexible with my list around being ill. On a good week, I knock 3-5 things off the 52-list, and on a sick week, I might only get 1 done, but it still adds up. I track things on a single spreadsheet so I can see the weeks slowly filling up. I also write a post on my blog, but that's more of a reward than accountability.

The very best thing I did was start early and try all the things, then drop the ones I found I wasn't interested in because I kept putting them off. My initial list of 20+ things has been halved.

If anyone is thinking of doing this, it has made me so much happier to have things to look forward to and to think that by the end of the year, I'll have baked 52 dishes and gone to 52 different parks and learned 52 poems and - all small distinct pleasures to commit to.
posted by viggorlijah at 1:14 AM on February 24, 2014

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