Monday, September 02, 2019

Daniel Green and the September Accountability Society

In 2012 I took part in Weeklybeats, a project where participants uploaded one new piece of music a week for 52 weeks. While the project's founders and participants are largely made up of members of the Chipmusic community, I would say I'm casual producer of music at best. This said, I've taken part in every edition of Weeklybeats as it returned every two years, even managing to complete the full 52-week cycle in 2018. If you're interested, you can find this music here.

In years where my artistic practice has slowed, I enjoyed being part of Weeklybeats as an exercise in just doing things. It was an easy way to maintain a creative output with an externally-imposed and inflexible deadline. If your track wasn't uploaded by the end of the week, the project just moved on without you*, and you had to start on next week's piece.

At some point during one of the years Weeklybeats wasn't running, my partner suggested to me that I embark on some sort of other weekly project as a way of maintaining creative momentum. While I completely agreed with this in principle, I knew that my problem with self-imposed deadlines is that I could always just ignore it. There was no external website with a countdown timer to work towards, and if no one knew I was even doing this who was there to hold me to account for my inaction. So what was the point?

Of course, having seen many friends and people I respect undertake similar "do x for y period of time" projects over the years, it's taken me this long to realise the answer to my problem is just to tell people you are doing it. So here we are. K., you were totally right. Again. 

My plan is this:
  1. Complete one project a week over the next four weeks.
    For me, these will be online interactive works, because I know enough about myself to understand my chances of success will exponentially increase if I limit the scope of what I want to do beyond simply "do a creative thing".
  2. Come Sunday September 8th (and the following three Sundays) at 11:59:59 BST (because that's where I live), upload a blog post detailing the result of that week's work, hopefully including the finished project.
    Ideally, I would like to post some other things during the week as I develop the works, but let's just call that a bonus if it happens.
Maybe you would like to do this as well? I'd say that's a splendid idea. Maybe you write, or draw, or make music, or knit or engineer things out of cardboard - nothing is off the table here. I'm not going to impose at centrally-mandated deadline that spans time zones, but for the sake of simplicity let's say you have until midnight of this Sunday, wherever you are, to complete the first project. Yes, this cuts the first week a little short; you have my apologies.

I am making my process as transparent as possible in order to keep myself motivated. You by no means have to do this, but if you drop me a line at daniel [at] iamdanielgreen [dot] net, then I'll drop you one. And maybe we can keep each other honest over the next few weeks.

I have been part of enough of the these sorts of initiatives over the years to know that despite the best of intentions, things just don't always work out as planned. I'm telling you now that this is fine. I may also not complete half of what I set out to do. For me, after a few years spent in hibernation without much output to show for it, I needed something to shake myself back into action. This is definitely not the end point of the process, but I'm hoping it at least helps me along the way.

* Strictly speaking, the moderators would allow the occasional mulligan, for which I would often be grateful. But you're only cheating yourself, you know.

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