The 100 Day Project is underway; thus, so is the learning curve. Everyone who participates in the 100 Day Project will go through five phases. These phases are some of my favorite things about the project! The phases include: building community, meeting new artists, committing to a practice, learning about your chosen project, and figuring out what adjustments need to be made.
About the 100 Day Project
The concept is simple: you commit to doing something consistently for 100 days straight while sharing it daily on Instagram with at least 2 hashtags: #the100DayProject and one unique one you create for yourself (this year I’m using #100stitchedcanvases). The project is a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and flexibility allowing creators of all disciplines to participate. It produces incredible results, sometimes life-changing.
To learn more about how to get started, read my previous post, “Ideas for a successful 100 day project.” Also, you might want to go to the100DayProject website to sign up for the official newsletter and/or listen to the podcast.
Phase 1: Building Community
One of the great aspects of the 100 Day Project is the huge community of people that participate. Of course, Instagram is really the best place to build community. Not only will your following grow, but you will find many interesting accounts and projects to follow. To really explore the various posts, search the hashtag #the100dayproject and then click on the “recent posts” tab as opposed to “top posts.”
The 100 Day Project Facebook group is another great place to start. If you add your posts to the daily threads, you get some interaction and possible following. Outside of the daily threads, though, the group is not very interactive now that the project is underway. The admins have it tamped down so people can only post in prescribed threads.
Phase 2: Meeting New Artists
As you begin to interact with other artists in the project, you will invariably become friends. You will find yourself liking the same artists’ posts because they have a really cool project. Oftentimes, they’ll also start to like your posts and voila! A new friendship is born.
In 2020, that was truer than ever for me. Just before the project started, the 100 Day Project Facebook group was flowing with introductions and idea sharing. Julie Jordan Scott (@juliejordanscott) posted a thread asking if anyone was interested in joining a small accountability group for the duration of the 100 Day Project. I signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done.
There were about 10 of us in our group (she set up many small groups of interested participants). It started around 15, but some people quit pretty early on. We all liked and commented on each other’s work and cheered each other on. In addition to the support, the group served as the equivalent of a gym partner. I felt more obliged to show up and post daily because I didn’t want to disappoint them. We even met on Zoom one afternoon.
Artists in the group were from all over the world (which made scheduling difficult, but we managed). Their projects and disciplines were different from mine. There was me embroidering on mixed media canvases, a cartoonist, a witch creating oracle cards, a digital illustrator, a videographer, a portrait artist, a watercolorist, a photographer, and an art journalist. I loved the exposure to all kinds of artforms and cultures. Another great perk was our work seemed to be influencing each other. Themes from one artist appeared in another artists work sometimes. It was not stealing or copying, rather honoring.
Phase 3: Committing To a Practice
A ubiquitous lesson for #the100dayproject participants is this — it’s hard to keep up with a daily practice. Life is busy. Sometimes you’re tired or your creatively is already spent. Sometimes your creative attempt isn’t Instagram worthy or you simply aren’t home all day. 100 days straight is a big commitment. Is it okay to miss a day or two? Of course. Will you feel guilty about it? Possibly. Should you? No, but you might. So that’s this phase of this project — learning to be okay with that.
Also, you need to allow yourself some grace and flexibility. For example, if a project is intricate, layered, and multi-step, count the days of process towards your 100 day count. Depending on your preference, you can post progress pictures daily or just post the finished piece every few days. In 2020, my canvases took 2-3 days each to complete. When I posted a completed canvas, I would label it days 20-23/100 or whatever. So, think about what makes sense for your project and give yourself that flexibility as needed. It makes it easier to complete the full 100 days if you establish realistic expectations for yourself.
Phase 4: Learning More About Your Chosen Project
As you get into your project, you are bound to learn. Some projects are all about learning a new skill, so that’s a given. For example, my 2020 project was to hand embroider on canvases. I’d never done that before, so I learned a lot really fast.
Even if your project is doing something you already practice, there are things to learn. With repetition, you will learn to become more efficient. You will learn that not every attempt turns out great. Naturally, you’ll also discover some things about time and when you can devote it to your project.
Phase 5: Making Adjustments
Lastly, you’ll discover pretty quickly that you probably need to make some adjustments to your plan if you are going to make it all 100 days. Maybe you need more or different supplies than you planned for. Perhaps you need to adjust your schedule. You might even feel like you need to change your entire project.
If you face boredom from the repetition, try to work in batches or series of 10. For example, I started my project by completing 10 floral paintings, then I started a series of birds. Although, I am using the same techniques, I’m challenged by the new subject matter and different elements of composition.
Signing up for a challenge that lasts over three months has its challenges. The most important thing is to remember why you started it in the first place and keep your eyes on the prize. Everyone is going through the same phases as you, but not everyone will make it all 100 days. It feels amazing to complete #the100dayproject. Keep at it!
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