Tips for organizing a year of self-directed projects?
December 5, 2017 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I’m a consulting product developer and I’m voluntarily underemployed at the moment. I’m thinking of continuing this reduced workload in 2018 if I can afford it, and I’m interested in working on a series of small projects/experiments (mostly art and music tech related) to stretch myself a bit. Ideally, I’d like to release work on a regular basis. I’m wondering if a frameworks exist for organizing such an endeavor. Or if any of you have worked in this manner and can offer suggestions, patterns or anti-patterns?

I was considering a “project a week” type of constraint, but that seems too simple. The consistent deadline is attractive.

One caveat: I’d prefer to stay away from the various mega-corporate networks, though out of necessity I’ll be contributing enhancements to several libraries on Github. I worry that critical feedback loops will be difficult by eschewing major corporate entities.
posted by a complicated history to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Trello is owned by atlassian, so it is pretty corporate, but I would probably still use it, along with(and this is probably more important!) a bimonthly lunch with a friend where you share what stuff you did in the last two weeks.
posted by rockindata at 11:27 AM on December 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did something a few years ago (from the beginning of 2013 to end of 2014) which was not exactly but somewhat similar to what I think you mean to do.

I started a meetup group in Houston at the hackerspace there called the "Houston Recreational Computer Programming Group" somewhat inspired by the old Recreational Computing columns that used to run in Scientific American magazine. At the end of 2014, I had to move across the country for a new job, so I couldn't participate anymore, and the new job ate my brain up to the point I no longer had enough energy or time to do something similar in the new location. I think the meetup still exists, but I don't think it meets regularly anymore.

Anyway, on to my point, which is that the meetup was held the 2nd Sunday of every month. As the organizer, I felt a certain obligation to have something to show each month in case nobody else had anything to show (which happened a few times, but most of the time, one or two other people also had something to show.) This had the nice effect of making me actually do something each month (although sometimes it was something desperately cobbled together on the Saturday before the meetup -- and one of those desperate Saturday cobblings eventually turned out to be what I think is the one of the best thing I've ever made).

I think that's what you're asking -- for some structure to kind of drive you to actually do something on a regular basis -- and this meetup that I was running did that for me.
posted by smcameron at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2017

Not sure if this fits your needs or not... But might spur some ideas.
posted by jimmereeno at 3:07 PM on December 5, 2017

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