How to Plan for a 365 Project of your own

How to plan a 365 Project by iHanna of

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.

A few of iHanna's Collages in the 365 Project 2013

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!

Some more Collages by iHanna of

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.

Some very pink Collages by iHanna of

Falling behind

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.

365 Collages in 2013 (part 6)

Plan for a 365 Project – My 5 best advices

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!”
W.H. Murray

What amazing things do you plan to create next year? Please let me know in the comments below, I read all comments. Thank you.

Also in the 365 Inspiration Series

19 Responses

  1. I’m totally on board with this for 2014! I think it’s a great idea! I love having something to show for each day, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed the Daisy Yellow ICAD challenge. I often look back at my stack of cards and am so proud that I accomplished all of them!

  2. Excellent post, Hanna, thanks. I’m thinking seriously about it for 2014, and will likely do collages, too.
    I did a year-long art quilt challenge for myself in 2009 – if you’re interested in seeing them, here’s the link to my blog posts!

  3. This is such an inspiring and encouraging post! You are making me consider taking on my own project similar to this.

  4. Bring on 2014. It will be so much fun to challenge myself 365 times! Thank you for the postcard swap. I have 10 fabulous cards. Thank you to all my partners.

  5. Dear Hanna,
    How ironic that you wrote about this very topic today. I officially decided just today to do Gina Rossi Armfield’s No More Excuses Art Journaling for 2014. It too takes a commitment, planning and of course preperation. So to read your post today was encouraging and uplifting AND just what I needed!! Thank you so much…I even printed your email so I can hang it on my board to help with motivation…LOL!! Also, I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed you collages and your commitment this year. You should be soooo proud. SO, are you doing any kind of 365 days for 2014??
    Sincerely, Geri P.

  6. Thanks for this awesome post. I really need this and the part about organizing yourself to make it happen is where I always seem to fail. I have the exact problem you speak of with having to dig through things to find what I need then the momentum is lost. Looking forward to your organizational tips. Collage is what seems to interest me the most and I have so much fodder that is out of control!!! I love your website and artwork so much and find you inspiring and helpful! Thanks again!

  7. Ok, I think I need this for 2014! Time to practise my techniques and what better way than an art journal – you’ve inspired me, hopefully I can keep at it!

  8. Thanks so much! Very helpful! Your collages have been an inspiration to me all year. I’m going (starting tomorrow) to do a rest of the year collage project. 40 days. Kind of trial for a 365 commitment. First thing: Get organized!

  9. Loved your post. I have enjoyed the collages you created this year. Congratulations!
    I took part in the Daisy Yellow collages this year – and then went an extra month. I loved the index sized cards. I also love collage.
    So I am thinking I will follow your lead – a daily collage, but using index cards. I have so much paper to use up.

  10. Thanks so much for this helpful and inspiring post!! I love seeing all your pretty collages here like this too, YAY!!
    I am going to jump in with a fresh start in 2014 and do a 365 day project too, leaning towards collage since yours are so awesome and I have tons of magazines and scrap paper that needs to be used up.
    I like the way you wrote this and it all makes sense to me. I’ve been cleaning up my workspace this week and getting it ready for a new year of new projects.

  11. Hanna, this is such a helpful & inspiring post! It has been fun seeing your beautiful creations week to week. I am very close to committing to a 365 day project next year, so I very much appreciate your tips & advice. And that quote at the end of your post? Brilliant!!

  12. This is just awesome, Hanna. Thank you Thank you for such a great post.
    I really admire your collages – what a sight!
    I’m always curious to see what’s next on your blog :)

  13. love to see all your collages all together! Great way of using your scraps. I’m going to made calendars again, to put in my art journal. I’ve done this before and see how rewarding they are. I’m going to see if others will enjoy it too. {:-D

  14. I cannot thank you enough for your 365 in 2013 project Hanna. Creating 365 collages has been such a wonderful experience. I love having something to return to each week, even when I’m not particularly inspired–the regular habit makes it possible. I love seeing how my work has changed and grown over the year. And I’ve loved seeing the work of the others playing along. And I love the flexibility when life gets in the way. Thank you, thank you! I recommend this practice to anyone!

  15. wonderful post! you have given me the encouragement to try this for 2014. perfect timing as now i will be ready to go!!

  16. Hi Hanna…I’ve been considering a project much like your collage project. I think I will join the 4×4 project that Jane Davies is doing. Her goal is to make 400, 4×4 inch, tiny pieces of art. I’m planning to try for 100 first and see how that goes and extend if all goes well. I do love collage so much that I may do part of my 4×4 as collage. Look for a post about this on my blog really soon. Have a great new year!!!

    • Thanks Mary, I wish you a happy new year too! I yhink a goal of quantity is great, but a time limit will help to achieve it quicker I guess. Let me know how it goes!

  17. I did a project 365 of photo’s back in 2009. There were days it was difficult but I was very happy that I finished the project. In 2013 I have been very ill off and on so it’s been impossible to create. I would love to tackle another year long project to help me heal. I think I will do a journal page a week and follow your collages (I have NO talent for collage, wish I did). Thanks for the encouragement and the advice. I will start posting them on my poor neglected blog.

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