Introducing Streak Club and draw with me for a year
Today I'm launching a new website called Streak Club. It’s a site for anyone to host creative streaks (I'll explain below). Check it out at http://streak.club
Over the past few years I've come to realize the importance of setting and keeping regular goals for self improvement. GitHub’s contributions chart was the first time I experienced this.
In 2014 I participated in something called Weekly Beats. I challenged myself to write a song every week for the entire year (along with ~300 other musicians). By the end I was able to complete 51 pieces of music, each at least 2 minutes long. In the beginning of 2014, when I started, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. I was fairly new to writing music and it took me a few hours to get 1 minute of music written and sequenced. Now that the year is over I realized it was an incredibly powerful motivator. I've now written multiple hours of music, experimented with a handful of software and hardware, and gotten experience recording myself playing instruments.
Weekly Beats is not running in 2015. They appear to run it every other year. I'm okay with that, but at the end of 2014 I was thinking how I could continue to capture my motivation. I decided that I would do a year of daily drawing.
What’s a streak
I call them streaks, but they go by a few different names. I think I was first introduced to the idea with Seinfeld’s “Don’t break the chain” trick. Chains.cc is an existing implementation of the idea. Whatever you call them, it’s the act of setting a very regular schedule for yourself to accomplish something, then seeing how long you can keep the streak going.
I've built Streak Club for creative streaks. Any kind of activity that produces something. The site works by having you pick start and end dates, set the interval (currently either daily or weekly), then finally invite others to participate or do it solo. The website gives you the deadlines, a chart of your progress, and the means to submit your work.
Any kind of medium is accepted. Upload images, upload audio, embed videos, or just write some text. If you have any ideas for other types of media I'd love to hear them.
I'm focussing on creative streaks because I think having people create and share all kinds of unique content really builds a strong community. When I did Weekly Beats I thought I was just signing myself up for a year of work. In reality I was signing myself up for just that, but also a supportive community who was eager to give feedback and help me grow. I was definitely not very good and quite a beginner, yet people still went out of their way to encourage me and comment. I would be honored to foster the same kind of community on Streak Club.
Streak Club was designed with exchanging feedback in mind. It’s easy to send a signal to content creators that you like what they're doing to keep them going. Leave a comment if you've got something to say, or just click the heart to like it.
I opened the site up for a few people before officially launching it to get some streaks going, here are a few you can check out:
- Daily Art Warmup — Assorted daily drawing for a month
- Vegetable Streak — Drawing vegetables for a week
- Fruit Streak — Drawing fruits for a week
- Pixel Fonts — Creating free pixel art fonts for a week
While implementing the site I realized there’s the potential for a lot of interesting twists to the idea. One of them was the idea of macro streaks and micro streaks. A macro streak might be a year long one, with a generic goal (make art), and a micro streak could be a week long one with a specific theme (draw vegetables). Because the two could potentially overlap, I made it possible to submit single submissions to multiple streaks at once. I'm curious to see how this plays out.
Let’s draw for a year
Because I want to learn to draw by practicing every day for a year I built Streak Club. I made it so many people could join streaks to share in encouragement and feedback. I originally planned to launch the site January 1st 2015, but I'm about a month late, oops. I decided to do a 1 month warm-up from January 1st to the 31st to give me a chance to fix any lingering bugs.
It’s called Daily Art Warmup. I encourage you to join and try it out, even if you don’t plan on sticking around, it’s worth getting a feel for how it works in case you find a use for it later.
Come February 1st 2015, 365 days of art begins: Daily Art 2015. The rules aren’t strict, and it’s not a competition. It’s about you creating art daily and communicating with others who are also trying. If you miss a deadline or aren’t available, no big deal, you can request a late submit link.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the art along with other ideas people come up with for Streak Club.
Streak Club is the culmination of many of my projects that I've been building over the past few years. (Yes, I'm repeating myself from my itch.io post, but it’s still true.) I've used an almost identical stack to itch.io, it’s proven to be very reliable and I have no intention of switching anytime soon.
The entire project is a web application written in MoonScript. It runs on Nginx through OpenResty using the Lapis web framework. I assembled the project, about 10k lines for the initial launch, over the past month. Unlike itch.io, this project is open source, licensed under GPLv2.
The primary database is PostgreSQL, queries are handled by the pure Lua driver I wrote, pgmoon. As the site is very image focused, images are dynamically resized using techniques I outlined in Nginx image processing server.
Thanks for reading about Streak Club, I hope you check it out: http://streak.club