We did it!
It didn’t happen quickly, but getting to today still snuck up on me. It feels almost anticlimactic, like it’s just another day of writing.
When I last wrote about this, I said I wasn’t sure what would happen at the end. I just had faith that something interesting would arise.
Now we’re here, and it’s indeed been interesting. It’s wild to scroll through the archive and view the thumbnails that represented who I was in December 2022. Through trying to relay what I learned on my sabbatical, I inadvertently learned new things about myself. I started to wrestle with my own identity and beliefs through my writing and became someone new in the process.
Here are four takeaways that I’m still reflecting on:
I like this concept of a creativity faucet, that there’s no shortcut to achieving good work other than first getting the sludge out first. I recently met someone in the animation industry who described it this way:
You have 10,000 bad drawings in your arm. You have to get all those out before you can start drawing the good ones.
There was an ebb and flow to my faucet. In the beginning, I had a backlog of things I knew I wanted to write about. Then I ran out and was flying blind. But at some point, long-buried topics and interests began to trickle up to the surface. I began to write stuff that surprised me because I didn’t even know I was going to write it!
Additionally, if I’m interested in a creative career, this has been a boot camp for showing up and doing the work, even on days I don’t want to.Consistency is the shit sandwich I have to be willing to eat on this path.
And, honestly, for a majority of the days I wrote, I did feel moments of frustration and exasperation. But I’m here today, and I’m grateful for it. As of today, I have one hundred data points as proof that I can do it!
You haven’t goofed off your entire life… Your entire life, you’ve been striving and trying to get good grades…
You need to spend some time just goofing off, doing nothing.
Most of my life was structured around external goals. Whether it was getting good grades or saving up for FIRE, there was always a plan to follow and reward at the end.
There was no obvious, tangible reward to writing 100 posts on Substack. But it turns out I can just do things!
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I didn’t think I was going to make money or gain a bunch of followers (though I still got more of both than I expected!) through doing this challenge. However, it did let me consistently experience what it’s like to do something for the sake of doing it.
Whether it’s running Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, writing songs, or drawing comics, these past few months have been an amazing experience in reclaiming my agency.
Becoming someone is a learning process; and what we learn is the new values around which, if we succeed, our lives will come to turn…
How can such activity be rational, if the reason for engaging in the relevant pursuit is only available to the person one will become?
I learned that I have trouble juggling more than one creative endeavor at a time. I spent a few weeks of the challenge cross-posting on Twitter, but I haven’t even opened the bird app in two weeks, even though that’s objectively one of my best sources for feedback and new subscribers. I’ve made some progress on next steps for creative projects, but I haven’t done any artsy output in the past few weeks either.
My standards for myself are high, which lends itself well towards tough and slow work. That worked okay for this challenge since it had a finish line. But if I want a healthier balance for the long game of life, I’ll have to be more mindful about maintaining my energy reserves for the next project. I don’t want to burn out and then have to take a sabbatical for my sabbatical!
This challenge has also been another good reminder that life gets in the way. Whether it’s cooking and cleaning or working out and spending time with loved ones, I always have less time and energy than I expect for the things I say I want to do. It’s not something worth getting frustrated over because that’s just a circumstance of existence. And cooking, working out, and spending time with loved ones are all things I also want in my life!
I couldn’t have gotten through this without the collective efforts of others also doing the!
Even without any hard accountability, just knowing that there were other people writing was enough to keep me going for 100 days. It’s like being on my laptop in a co-working space vs by myself.
And it was always nice to know that I’d have a friendly roundup of interesting posts to read the next day! I’d like to take some time to give some kudos:
- for organizing this whole thing and sharing his thoughts on creativity and life in the Netherlands
- for posting about this challenge on Twitter, which was how I discovered it in the first place
- for honest portrayals of parenthood and insights on healthy relationships, romantic and familial
- for beautifully portraying everyday moments, frozen in time (“original seeing”, as Robert Pirsig put it)
- for her vulnerability in sharing life after her husband’s death
- for his ambition with Métis and his stamina to post on weekends too! Looking forward to more conversations about education with you!
- for sharing their obvious love for music and video games (and being a good gome)
- for resonating thoughts on finding and building community
- for sharing thoughts on mindfulness and the pathless path over Japanese food! (also thanks for always and liking and commenting on my posts!)
- for insightful posts on infinite games and the creator economy
- for poignant poems and daily reminders to be grateful!
So what’s next?
I definitely felt the slog of the final stretch, but ironically, I think it’s because part of me is dragging its heels, wanting to cling onto the structure that this challenge has provided me for the past five months.
I’m looking forward to taking a break for a bit, but I also want to keep the momentum going! I’m thinking a daily challenge more focused on visual arts and also getting back into the social loop with Twitter (and Bluesky!).
My current thinking is to still post here weekly or monthly to give updates, but I’d love to hear what you’re interested in reading more about! Please post, reply to this email, or schedule time for a chat!
Thanks again for everyone who’s come along for the ride – I hope it was as interesting for you as it was for me!
Talk to ya soon!
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Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming by Agnes Callard
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congrats Kevin!! thanks for the shoutout. i always enjoy reading your writing. looking forward to what you do next