It's easy to get caught up in the romantic idea of making one massive project and then pouring all of your creative energy into it. But developer Darius Kazemi found that small projects were a little more useful.
Photo by Pascal
When you take on a lot of very small projects, you give yourself room to explore new ideas, fail, and avoid getting hung up on specific ideas. These small scale, one to five hour burst projects can be super satisfying because you're constantly trying new things and ruminating on specific themes. There are plenty of other benefits too:
Having lots of projects means you can watch your aesthetic develop over time very quickly. If I made 1 large project a year, it would take me 3 years until I had 3 data points I could look at and extrapolate some kind of forward motion. With 72 projects in a year, I have a ton of reference points. I can look back on what I've built and say, "Oh yeah, it's pretty clear that over the summer I was really interested in joke generation, and then I moved away from that, but retained some elements into the winter." It helps you better theorise about your own work and get a handle on what you're doing.
Having lots of projects means you can have something to pull out for pretty much any occasion. When I'm talking to someone about art or code, there's usually a relevant example that I can pull from my own work in conversation without being a total dick about it. If there's an art show where they want submissions about a particular topic, I've probably done something related to it.
It's obviously not a sustainable thing for every career or hobby, but it's certainly something most of us can do more. Head over to Kazemi's blog for ideas on how to do more projects, how to manage them, and more.
Thoughts on small projects [Tiny Subversions]