The Benefits of Making Weekly GIFs

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For several weeks last year, I committed myself to sharing a new animated GIF every Friday. As with all good things, it started with a catchy name (#tGIF, get it?!), and the concept followed.

Of course it’s not just an excuse to show off my catchy-name-making skills. There are a lot of good reasons to commit yourself to putting out daily or weekly content, be it animated GIFs, hand lettered art, illustrations, or anything creative that you stand to improve at (and who doesn’t have room to improve at their craft, right?).

Here are a few reasons why I made a commitment to regular content, and why you should too –

Deadlines force you to make time, and discard perfectionism.

Before taking on this project, I was keen to do more work. I was well aware that doing trumps thinking about, talking about, or planning to, every time. So I’d sit down when I could “find the time”, and work on tweaking a few keyframes on whatever I’d been working on for the past few weeks until it was “perfect”. This was not efficient. By not having a deadline, and not forcing myself to find the time, I was not exercising my creativity often enough – and when I was, I was simply tweaking what I’d already made, not trying anything new, because I had as long as I wanted to make it absolutely perfect. Of course a perfectionist never actually achieves perfection. There’s always room for improvement. And if there’s always time for improvement, then nothing ever gets finished.

A creative who doesn’t create isn’t a creative.

You can hang out on social media all day, retweeting other people’s great content, having witty back-and-forths with your creative heroes, and sharing your hilarious thoughts on the niche quirks of your field (and I do! Hit me up at @MintyMoGraph), but that only counts for a fraction of the value of your feeds. If you’re talking about your cool upcoming project, you might pique a few people’s interest, but it’s the content that’ll make them sit up and notice. It’s the content that’ll get retweeted to a larger audience. And it’s the content that will say, with far more authority that your words, “I’m passionate about my craft, and I’m capable”.

The only thing standing between you and the amazing work you want to make, is a whole ton of mediocre work

Let’s not kid ourselves here. My weekly GIFs were not changing the industry of motion design as we know it. And that’s completely OK. I had a few hours here and there every week to make something; it didn’t have to match the awe-inspiring films made by a studio of artists over several weeks. Such a lofty aim would miss the point. Your creative heroes – the ones who make waves in the community every time they release work – were not just born with otherworldly talent. They worked hard over a long time to get to that stage. And I can guarantee that they produced some pretty meh content along the way. The best way to learn is to do. And so it follows that the most learned creatives have probably done a lot, constantly, from the point when they were clueless graduates, to the industry superstars they are now.

There is of course one more benefit: I actually had fun making them! Even if nothing else comes of it, that’s reason enough to take up the weekly challenge.