I hope you all had a wonderful Easter or Passover! It’s a lovely time to get together with family and friends, enjoy each other's company and remember everything we have to be grateful for. My family came over for supper and we had a fabulous, relaxing evening with all age groups represented from age 5 to 89.
Today’s blog is about 100-day challenges, why I just started my second and an invitation for you to join me!
What is a 100-day challenge and why are people crazy enough to do them, you ask? I can’t speak for everyone but I'd love to share my reasons for embracing them with enthusiasm.
I started my first 100-day challenge on January 1st this year on a bit of a dare. Several members of a pattern design group I belong to floated the idea back in December. The way these work is, you pick a creative activity and, starting on a particular date, January 1st in this case, repeat that activity for 100 straight days. I decided: why not?
We are now on day 94 of that challenge and I've learned a ton throughout the process. I'll share some of my key takeaways in a minute. But I've just joined ANOTHER one that started yesterday called The 100 Day Project. And if you'd like to join in, it's not too late!
This particular challenge, called The 100 Day Project, was started five years ago by Michael Bierut, a professor at Yale. It really gained significant attention, however, when it was taken online on Instagram by artist and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna and writer and co-founder of Women Catalysts, Lindsay Jean Thomson.
If you'd like to learn more about how it all started, Elle and Lindsay did a wonderful interview with Michael a few weeks ago. You can listen to it HERE.
To be honest, I heard about The 100 Day Project last year and was too intimidated to try it. But now I'm ready! And here are 5 key takeaways that I learned from the challenge I started in January. If you decide to jump into The 100 Day Project, and I hope you will, I hope these tips help you along the way. Download my cheat sheet HERE.
#1: Keep it simple!
The only "rule" of these challenges is to pick something that you want to do and repeat that same action for 100 days in a row. I asked for a lot of advice before I jumped into my first challenge at the beginning of this year. What I heard over and over again was: keep it simple. Pick something that is easy to do no matter where you are, how tired you might be or how late in the day you are trying to complete it. For my project, I picked twenty minutes of sketching per day.
#2: No more fear of the blank page!
Because you have to complete your "assignment" every day, it removes the fear of the blank page. Any other steps you can take to make it as easy as possible help. Here are the steps I followed for my first challenge and I'll be doing the same thing for The 100 Day Project.
- I decided in advance that I'd sketch for twenty minutes every day.
- From previous experience, I knew I could draw the same element, a flower for example. over and over and it would look different every time. I talk about this in my blog I Can't Draw. This removed any anxiety about what specific flower or element I might pick on a given day.
- My sketch pad and pens are out and ready on my kitchen table. I don't have to figure out what supplies I need. They are simple and at the ready each day.
- I set the timer on my iPhone for twenty minutes, and
- I just start!
#3: Creating lots of content is FUN!
I'm taking a variety of online classes right now and one of them is a deep dive into pattern design. The final assignment for the class is to build a collection of patterns, about 8-10, that are cohesive and work well together. By embarking on the 100 day challenge back in January, I've created a ton of floral sketches that I can pull from to create my pattern collection. I've also used many of them to create new art prints to add to my Society6 art print shop.
#4: Your own personal style begins to emerge
An issue that comes up a lot among creatives is the need to develop your own personal style. This puts a LOT of pressure on us as artists. One of the best ways to address this is by creating a lot of artwork. Just create, create, create and your style will emerge. For artists still in this discovery period like me, part of figuring out your own personal style is figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. That includes materials, supplies, mediums, and the subject matter itself. This takes time and a daily practice like a 100-day challenge can help you work through a lot of this.
#5: Daily practice creates habit
There are a lot of articles and theories out there about how to break bad habits and create good ones. A fundamental recommendation is to do one small thing every day until it becomes routine. I found that the routine of spending twenty minutes doing something creative (sketching in my case) has become habit forming. The actual output is sometimes less important than the practice itself.
It's not too late to join The 100 Day Project. If you'd like to join, pick a project - something SIMPLE. Do that everyday for the next 100 days and post your work on Instagram using the hashtag #The100DayProject. If you would rather follow along and watch me do the challenge this year, please follow me on Instagram. My handle is @annelafolletteart.
In closing, I want to remind everyone that I’m doing my first Facebook live session inside my new private FB group: Anne’s Art Club. The live session is today at noon PST and you have to be on my email list in order to get an invitation to join the group.
If you are interested, click HERE to join my email list. I’ll then send you an invitation to the FB group. I’m super excited about this new venue and can't wait to kick it off at noon today!
Remember, It’s Never Too Late To Create.
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Here is an audio version of last week’s blog in case you missed it.