I love a good challenge. Which isn't quite the same thing as a competition, although that can be part of it. In general, I think I've done well with "frameworks" for my hobbies - whether that's running or writing or coding or music. I don't have to be The Best at anything, I just want to encourage habits that help me get in flow and have fun and make weird stuff, and some scaffolding for my creativity has helped me.
For example, NaNoWriMo kicked off my novel-writing habit a few years back, and now I've got a real-life novel that I've written and printed out on my home printer and spiral-bound at FedEx (I'm working on getting the book in more people's hands this year!).
Right now, I'm craving more writing, so I've concocted a new challenge for 2022 that I'm calling Fahrenheit 52.
With F52, I'll be writing a new short story, every week, for a year. The concept's based on a quote from my fav spooky guy Ray Bradbury:
"The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing, and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done. At the end of 30 weeks or 40 weeks or at the end of the year, all of a sudden a story will come that’s just wonderful." - Ray Bradbury
The goal isn't perfection. It's about putting in the reps.
For fun, I'm also reading the story out loud each week and releasing it as a podcast. You can read the stories on the F52 website, subscribe to the F52 RSS feed, or subscribe to the podcast RSS feed with your favorite podcast player (Overcast, Spotify, Apple Podcasts).
For more fun, I made the F52 website using Syte - the static site generator that my friend Ben wrote and that I've been tweaking a bit. For this project specifically I added podcast RSS feed generation to Syte (which I wrote about in this post on hosting podcasts for free).
I'll close this post with another quote from Ray Bradbury. It's from my favorite book Dandelion Wine and it makes me cry:
The wine still waits in the cellars below. My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark. The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer. Why and how? Because I say it is so.