Having a year-long project is one of the best ways to create a creative practice! If you feel like you want to be more creative but don’t find the right time to start, or don’t find enough time, I recommend you try this! Because when you decide to do something you are more likely to follow thorough. And when you make a commitment to yourself and to your creativity you become inspired and energized!
But to start a 365-project and then quite early or too easily, is also one of the best ways to feel like a failure and start procrastinating creative time even further. Therefor, if you intend to do any kind of creative 365 Project, a bit of planning is good and will help keep you on track.
Since this year I will successfully finish my second 365-project, I thought I’d write a bit about what to think about before you start your project, and things to consider while you’re “in it”, trying hard to not fall behind. Feel free to read about my creative process too, if you haven’t already.
I’m hoping it will be helpful and encourage you to set a big goal for yourself. Here are some things to think about…
What will you focus your energy on?
Where do you want to go with your creativity? I think it’s important to pick one area to focus on. Is it art to hang on the walls you want to create every day? Or is it craft projects, photography, journaling, writing, or something else? It’s a good idea to pick something you already know, something you most likely are already doing and know you enjoy a whole lot! Don’t try a 365 project with something that is new to you, or that someone else suggests you should try. 365 days are a lot of days, so to keep it fun it should be something special that comes rather easy to you.
To me it is about making art. My first project was 365 Daily Art Cards, my second project A Stitch a Week last year (a project I didn’t finish) and right now I’m doing 365 Collages in 2013, my favorite so far. I already knew I love collage, but felt I created way to few in 2011 and 2012. Making 365 in one year 2013 felt like a fun challenge to me.
What is your art form?
Daily or Weekly Goals?
The absolute best way to know what kind of goal setting fits your personality is to try it in advance. Commit to your daily practice first for a week, then for a month. If you can do it for a whole month you will know if it’s a good challenge for you, or if it’s too big. Do you enjoy creating daily, can you find the time, and does it fit your lifestyle? A bit of struggle is okay, but beating yourself up about missed days, or worrying about it until your stomach hurts, is not helpful and you should stop and breath. It’s meant to be fun!
Remember that there are many ways to do a year-long challenge. As an example you can create one thing per week instead of doing something daily; a canvas painting, a crafted item, a spread in your photo album. A weekly goal is also easy to manage. A month is way too many days to be a manageable period of time to me, so I won’t even go there. Personally I love my weekly goal of seven collages each week, ready to be posted on the blog the next week!
Set up a organizational system
In my next post about planning a 365-project I will talk a bit about how I’ve organized my life around making seven collages each week for an entire year. But until then I just want to stress that some kind of system is very helpful. Organizing your materials, tools, finished objects and your studio space, will save time and keep you on track like nothing else!
For example, if it’s quick to sit down at your desk to create a collage (or what ever you’re focusing on) it will be much more likely that you do it on a random Wednesday. If you first have to cut your substrate, look through ten boxes of material and then realize you’re out of glue sticks – creating something will be much harder.
And how will you store your project once it’s finished? If it’s digital, how do you want the files to be sorted? Create a folder system, name your files by date or number so that they automatically can be sorted in a correct chronological order.
Will you share updates about your project online, on FB or via a blog? What day of the week works best with your schedule for that? Can you bring your materials with you while you go on vacation if needed? How much time will you need each day, or week, to finish? Mark out time in your calendar. Prioritize this project this year.
Things happen, and sometimes it’s impossible to keep up even with a fun new creative habit. You might get sick, have to work overtime, or travel. Don’t worry about it too much. If at all possible, plan ahead a bit. If next week will be busy create “extras” when you’ve got the time (this is not possible if you are doing it as a daily habit of course).
I think it’s important to try our best to not fall behind. The whole purpose of having a big project like this is to see if it’s possible to keep up, to create a habit of creating. To create something even when we are tired, stressed out or having a cold. It is possible, but giving up sometimes feel like a great (and very easy) solution. The best way to stop the urge to give up is to keep creating, and not fall behind…
If your idea is too big it’s easier to give up too. If you miss just one day you can always catch up. If you miss two days, or a week, can you still catch up? Do you want to? Are you being kind to yourself – or are you letting yourself slack of? Only you can decide if it’s time to rest, or push on.
With my small, square collages I can catch up for a lost week (and I have done this a few times), but I’m not sure I could do more than that. Creating more than 14 collages in a week would kill the joy for me and ruin the project. I could probably do it, but not in a satisfying way, and the quality of those art pieces would not measure up to my artistic standards. When I tried creating daily, as I did with my Daily Art Cards in 2008, I noticed to my surprise how far I could push myself for the sake of the project. I did not like all my cards as much as I do now, but I created much more regular and with big determination.
My 5 best advice for a 365 Project
In conclusion, here are my best advice in short:
1. Love your Idea
Pick something you love doing, not something you should do.
2. Be organized and Ready
Decide when to start, prepare mentally and organize your space and your material.
3. Stay on Track
Don’t fall behind, don’t give up! If you fall behind try catching up as quickly as possible.
4. Push on
On days when you are tired, sick or un-inspired you can still create something – so do it.
5. Share the Joy
Tell your friends what you’re doing, share your project online, ask for feedback and inspiration.
I shared the idea of my project in December last year, and many of you decided to join me and do your own 365-project along with me. That was so awesome! And my project is hugely a success because you my dear blog readers took the time to leave comments on my 365 posts each week, telling me about favorite collages. I am so grateful for that!
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
What amazing things do you plan to create next year? Please let me know in the comments below, I read all comments. Thank you.