We have all heard time and time again that “practice makes perfect” but how much do we actually apply that to our creative endeavors? Especially if we don’t consider ourselves to be particularly creative. In 2020, I decided I would test that theory out. I was really struggling with my own perception of my creativity. I believed that I may be somewhat creative, but that I couldn’t actually create anything. This was compounded by the effect my depression was having on my focus.
I came across the 100 Day Project. Have you heard of it? In essence, the 100 Day Project is a global movement to be more creative. You set your own project – there are some guidelines but what you do is entirely up to you. I have seen paintings and quilted postcards, embroidery and poetry, hand-lettering and photography. And you do that thing for 100 days – and over time your skill grows. It kind of reminds me Malcolm Gladwell’s quote from the book Outliers: The Story of Success “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”
So, in 2020, I embarked on my first ever 100 Day Project. I stressed out about what I would do – I wanted to sketch – but that seemed hard. I wanted to paint – but c’mon I’m not an artist. Then it hit me - a friend had given me a desk calendar that had a quote a day for the year – and I decided I would teach myself how to hand-letter by writing out 100 of those quotes. I added a little bit to it and decided to paint the backgrounds before writing on them. This way I would be doing some painting as well even if it was just a couple of colours in the background.
I did make one change to how the project is “supposed” to run though. Knowing my own mental health and my tendency to be extremely tough on myself I decided that my goal was to do 100 but NOT to fixate on doing 100 days in a row. And I did it! It took me almost 8 months – but I did 100 hand lettered quotes. I even took it one step further and put them for sale on Etsy and sold a few!
The most important part of any big undertaking is the debrief. So I thought about what I had learned (good and bad) from the experience of my first 100 day project. I realized that I learned so much! The biggest thing I learned that I could do it! I also saw my skill (both in painting the backgrounds and my hand-lettering) grow – this proved to me that progress was possible. On the flip side, I realized that the next time I wanted my project to involve less steps – this time I had to paint the backgrounds, they had to dry and then I would trim them and only then could I do the actual hand lettering. The other problem I faced was purely based on wanting to post about my journey through this – the problem with this was that the pieces I made were 5”x7” and, of course, Instagram wants a square image – I decided my next project wouldn’t be made to work on two different platforms.
And before I knew it, it was 2021 and it was time for another 100 day challenge. I took those lessons with me and embarked on a new project. This year I decided to write 100 Haikus. Why did I decide on Haikus? To be honest, I attended a free class about them and I was reminded of how much fun and creative it can be – plus it’s only 3 lines! So simple – so easy to do, right? To get around the format issue, I either wrote the Haiku in the comments with the photograph that inspired it or create a simple graphic on Canva.
And it worked! This year, I was able to complete the challenge – not in 100 days- but in 4 months! Not bad, right? Just a few extra days! Maybe next year, I’ll be able to do 100 consecutive days…only time will tell.
If you would like to check out both of my challenges, check out the highlights on my Instagram Account