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"Work more hours than the average factory worker." - Robert Genn, "Artist for Life"

Lori Woodward Simons recently posted a challenge to herself and to any fellow artists interested in joining her — a challenge to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week creating art. One thing I especially like about her idea is that she's also doing Show And Tell Fridays, asking folks to use Twitter, Facebook, and/or forums to share their accomplishments and to help hold each other accountable.

Some people think Twitter's just a time-waster... and in some cases it is. But Lori touches on another side of Twitter that people don't always consider. By carefully choosing who you follow, you can surround yourself with like-minded people, productive people who you admire and respect. It can be a way to peek into the daily life of someone who's reached some of the goals you're trying to reach. And it can be a way to announce your goals and feel that others will be holding you accountable to work towards them (Christine Kane likes to imagine her followers as virtual Song Coaches).

For Lori's Show And Tell Fridays, she encourages you to tweet your accomplishments for the week each Friday, telling your hours tally, sharing photos of what you've worked on, or otherwise celebrating your progress. You can label your tweet with the #20hrchallenge hashtag to make it easier for other participants to follow your progress.

While she says 20 hours is a number that works well for her as a full-time artist, maybe a goal of 5 or 10 hours is more realistic for you. What matters most is setting your own goal and making it happen. Crafting time is a precious commodity around here with a 3 month old who seldom naps for long, so I'm planning on setting my goal for 5 hours next week.

Wanna play along?

Update 6/2/09: Lori has now set up a separate website for the 20 Hour Studio Challenge, including a blog, e-newsletter and more.

Update 8/31/09: I haven't seen any updates on Lori's site lately... and a Twitter search doesn't bring back any results from others using the #20hrchallenge hashtag. So this may be one of those Internet fads that quickly fades away. Still, I've personally had very encouraging feedback from some of my followers on Twitter.

I've also found this weekly check-in helpful to me in some unexpected ways. I knew it would challenge me to be more conscious about how I'm spending my time. But my favorite part, as it turns out, is the weekly photo I take of what I've worked on. Whether it's a little or a lot, having that visual evidence of progress is encouraging to me. It's nice to have photographic records of when I worked on a particular project. Plus it's an excuse to clean off my desk once a week, and that de-cluttering makes the next week's creativity that much more enjoyable.

So I'm sticking with the challenge for now, even if the rest of the movement may have lost some steam. I do think I'll change my hashtag to #5hrchallenge, though, so it matches my personal goal.

Update 11/8/09: 5 hours of crafting ain't gonna cut it now that I'm writing a polymer clay book! Thankfully I've arranged for some help with Sam a couple of days a week. Upping my personal crafting goal (writing and photos count separately, FYI) & changing the hashtag to #10hrchallenge

Update 5/10/10: Still at it. The book's done, and I have Sam full-time over the summer... so it's back to 5 hours for me. #5hrchallenge


Can you IMAGINE 20 hrs a week just....creating?!?

The challenge is a great idea tho. A great way to inspire and be inspired by other artists and crafty folks! Thanks for posting it, I had not heard of it. (facebook has taken my attention lately)

5 hours sounds like a great goal for someone with a 3 month old!

Thanks for the comments. Yes, Christie, 20 uninterrupted hours of crafting does sound delightful -- and I'm sure it's much trickier for you to get crafting time than it is for me. I haven't figured out how you moms with multiple kids get anything done! :-)

But so far the 5-hour goal is working well for me. It's helping me prioritize the free time I do have, so I don't end up spending precious naptime moments doing silly things... like, say, catching up on Twitter. It makes me happy to sneak in some creative time during the day.

I love what you are doing. I think I am going to copy this idea. Everywhere I say I want to create more, but don't set a goal. I think I should start doing this-
Thanks for sharing it on twitter- I never would have known!

I appreciate the kind words from such a kind person, Alisa. Good luck with your goals -- I admire any amount of creating you can do with 4 kiddos running around! :-)

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