A Daily [creative] Habit

There’s no shortage of ideas to take on as daily challenges. Anything we seek to be better at, from writing to fitness to mindfulness to creativity can be achieved through a regular personal practice.

In middle school, I wanted to play the saxophone, maybe just because it was shiny and looked cool. I never practiced much after my first sessions at home had my dog howling and my sisters laughing. So I stopped.

But one does learn to do things differently. And I have been very dedicated to the idea that to get better at using, expressing with, and creating media that the best route is adopting a person habit of trying something small every day.

I have done this with photography since 2008, trying each day to take at least one but often more, photos, picking one that has meaning to post to flickr as my daily photo.

Alan Levin's flickr collections of daily photos, 14 albums for each year back to 2008
Maybe a habit, maybe an obsession…

If it’s working, the act is self rewarding. If not it becomes a chore. My photo habit os not being perfect, I miss days, and sometimes the one I upload is a last minute picture of a dirty dish.

For me, I found it meant taking a forced break every day, to try and notice the details of the world around me. I had that idea in mind when teaching media and digital storytelling, that there is value in trying to do something small, new every day.

Others I worked with thought the same, and this gave rise to a daily creative challenge associated with the DS106 open digital storytelling community. The Daily Create is used when DS106 is taught as a class, but it is also open to anyone interested.

Here is how it works. Each day at 5:00AM ET, a new challenge is posted to It has a brief prompt, sometimes it may have media to use or a web site to explore. Responses are entered by replying to @ds106dc in twitter and using the hashtag specific to each day (for a response to the one shown below, I would include #tdc3311 in my tweet).

Having both @ds106dc and the daily tag in the tweet will make sure it is added to the entry for that challenge.

But rather then remembering to go to the web site each day, the best way is to follow @ds106dc in twitter and look for the new challenge tweeted daily.

Then you can just reply with your response (and the hashtag! Do not forget the hashtag!)

The premise is in my mind (the way people choose to respond is up to them) is that it should be something I can do in about 15-20 minutes. Sometimes I get carried away and do more, but mostly it’s very quick. As I make coffee, I check each morning for the challenge, and try to complete it by the time I finish breakfast.

We are asking each #Netnarr student to try and do 2 per week (feel free to do more) The thing about a Daily Create response is– there is no wrong way to do it. How you interpret a response is up to you. If it asks for an audio and you want to use a GIF- that’s okay. It’s more about being creative and thoughtful in your response.

Doing Daily Creates uses both your creative brain muscles but more often, has you explore tools and ways of expression you might not normally try.

The other thing we ask #NetNarr to do is to respond in a way that reflects our Post Pandemic University thinking or the ideas you are wrestling with. And for fun, toss in a #netnarr tag too.

Try for 2 Daily Creates a week, and include them in your weekly notes post as a creative output (remember you can embed a tweet if you copy it’s URL and paste into WordPress editor).

I’ll be doing them with you! I try to do them every day, but … I am obsessive.

For wonderful example of the unexpected see how one Daily Create produced a 106 line community written poem

Image Credit:

2020/366/365 Time Enough, Will it Last?
2020/366/365 Time Enough, Will it Last? flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

By Prof Alan

An early 90s builder of the web and blogging, Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling, photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He has been a part of NetNarr since 2017.

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