One of the things I enjoy about watching hitRECord projects develop is how they handle that development. A project will be broken down into a series of challenges, arranged by skill sets. Creators then contribute to each challenge, often building off others’ contributions, exploring different visions , interpretations, and points of view. Each challenge builds on the ones that come before, until either a solid project comes out of the collaboration or the project is tabled for one reason or another.
I think there’s something very useful in that for the solo creator or for any creative team, really. Larger projects are a monster to begin with, especially when they require a number of components or skills. So, hitRECord’s method of breaking a project up into bite-sized challenges is a great way to make the monster-sized project feel more manageable and maybe even a bit more able to be accomplished.
How can you incorporate challenges into your creative process?
- Start by identifying what work needs to be done on your project. What assets or components need to be created? Do you need to learn any new skills to complete a part of the project?
- Group like assets, components, and skills into a single mini-project. Each of these groups will be one of your challenges.
- This is the hard part. Figure out the best order for you to tackle your challenges. Some mini-projects will need to happen before others. Use that to help find a good order. (And be open to the fact that shuffling is sometimes necessary, especially if you find a skill gap in your knowledge that affects more than one project or component.)
- Tackle your first mini-project. When it’s finished (or at least ready to move on from), tackle the next. Keep going until you’ve finished all of your challenges and have a completed project.
- Show off your hard work!
Remember as you’re developing your challenges that these should be fun, but should also push you to become better at a skill or a technique, or deepen your understanding of your craft. And also remember to keep an eye on the larger project to make sure your mini-challenges are staying on track. If you find yourself getting off-track in a mini-project, but what you’re doing is too cool to stop and get back on track, then make a note of it and make it an independent project.
Your turn: Go out and create (and complete) a challenge-based project.