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The Pink Samurai: Tips for Picking a 365 Project and Sticking With It All Year

The Pink Samurai

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tips for Picking a 365 Project and Sticking With It All Year


This year, I tried something new.  I decided to do a 365 project and actually stuck with it all year.  I've tried a few monthly photo challenges and I always think that this is year I'll finally write in a journal every day, but none of those things ever really work out.  I would miss a day, or get some kind of creative block which would make me frustrated.  Then, I'd feel stressed about catching up and then just forget about it.

But this year was different.  I was determined.  I made a commitment to do a drawing of my outfit every day for the whole year.  It was astonishing to me that January went by without incident and then February came and went and then March went off without a hitch!  By April it was looking like I was really going to keep it up!  As I write this now, I've only got 15 more days left in the year.  That's 350 drawings!  Not only do I have a large body of work to look back on, and use in future projects, but I've got a diary, a peek into my every day life during one of my most eventful years yet.  When I started this project I wasn't expecting to have sinus surgery or quit my job and move halfway across the country.  There was nothing telling me that I'd be doing drawings from New York City, or feature glittery ears from Blogcademy.  You never know how your year is going to go when you start a project like this, but it's beyond fun to look back and see how much you've done and how you've grown after it's all said and done.

So!  I learned a lot about doing a daily project this year and wanted to go through some of my advice if any of you are interested in trying it yourself!

Picking a 365 Project
The first thing you have to decide is what you're going to do.  Is there something you want to challenge yourself to do?  Something you want to try and improve?  Is their something you're already pro at doing and you want to expand your body of work?  Or maybe you don't consider yourself to be creative and you're just diving in and seeing what happens!  Here's a few ideas for projects to get the creative juices flowing:
  • Photography
    • Self-portraits, slice of daily life, your local area, food - maybe dessert of the day or just your lunch, drinks - like your daily coffee or feature your silly mug collection, outfit of the day, or OOTD, is a really fun one to document and share, also pets are always a good idea! 
  • Drawing
    • Self-portraits (they're just so great because your subject is always around!), pets again, fanart of your favorite shows, movies or video games, try themed months (based on season or color or texture...), food, flowers, lettering, quotes...the list here is only limited by your imagination.
  • Crafts
    • Embroidery, crochet a daily granny square, scrapbook page, jewelry, a quilt square, wood carving, stamp.  Making a craft a day is a fun way to show off your craftiness and to have lots of decorations and presents on hand for birthdays and holidays.  Double whammy!
  • Beauty
    • Nail art, eye of the day or EOTD is a fun way to show off your eye makeup skills, whole daily look (that could be filed under a more specific self-portrait), hair style.

The point is to pick something you won't mind doing every day and be open to the evolution of your work.  My first day was drastically different from the second and those are both completely different from the drawings I'm doing now.  Your style will evolve as your find your voice in whatever project you choose.

Keep it Simple Stupid
You're going to be doing this every single day.  Don't over commit.  There are going to be days you'll totally forget to do your project until it's 11:30 pm, so you'll want to avoid having projects that take a couple of hours to complete, document and share.  Keep it contained to something that will take under an hour.  If you've got more time to work on it some days, then it's a bonus!

I actually thought about doing a scarf a day for a year, and then I realized I'd be taking 2 or 3 hours each day to make the scarf and the idea of that totally freaked me out haha!  My drawings generally only take around 20 or 30 minutes.  If there's a lot of other stuff going on in the drawing, then it can take longer.  But those are reserved for days when I have the extra time or something significant happened that I really want to represent in the drawing.

Have a Plan
If you're doing a drawing, I absolutely recommend using some kind of template to keep things consistent.  It makes it go faster and the end project looks really clean.  If it's photography, I'd recommend keeping your post-processing consistent.  The same goes with your file structure if you're working on the computer.  Keeping things the same will save you the headaches of searching through all your ambiguously named files.  My file structure is Daily Drawings » Month » MonthDate.Year.jpg.  And if you're kickin' it old school and doing pen or pencil sketches, put them in one notebook.  Keeping the notebooks the same color or brand also helps with the collection at the end.

Also, think about how you'll share the content you're creating.  It could be just for you.  You could blog about it daily, or do a post a week about your progress.  You could also create a photo album or physical portfolio of your work.  And don't forget about all the social media outlets if you're into it.  My method was to post to my blog every day, then follow up with a link to that post on Twitter.  Then, after that, I'd grab the image and toss it onto Instagram.  Once you get into the swing of things, sharing your work will become second nature.

Parts that Make a Whole
When you're working each day, don't lose sight of the ultimate goal.  It's easy for things to go off the rails and look a hot mess at the end.  Always take a step back and think about how you want to display your work in the end and how everything will fit together.  Will the project be printed?  Will you display them in smaller collections?  There are so many ways to do it!  If this means treating all your photos in a similar way, or having a pattern to your drawings, go for it.  Sometimes having restrictions can trigger even more creativity.

Don't Beat Yourself Up
There's probably going to be a day that you forget.  It's a fact.  It happened to me a couple of times and I just did the drawing the next morning.  I shared my drawings on Instagram as well as my blog and would absolutely forget to post them on Instagram every now and then.  Just share as soon as you can.  Try not to call attention to it because most folks won't even notice, honestly.  When it happens, try not to get frustrated or let it get the better of you.  Think about all the other days you've already gotten through and be proud of your progress!  Share when you can,  double up on projects if you need to make up for a missed day and remember that this is for fun.

Have Fun!
At the end of the day, this is your project.  It's something that's suppose to make you happy and challenge you creatively every day.   You should be stoked to work on it every day ^_^ If it's becoming stressful, don't feel bad about putting it aside.  Like I said before, I'd done a few different daily projects that totally fell by the wayside before embarking on this journey.  It's ok to live and learn.  But definitely challenge yourself to keep going one more day.  And if you need any motivation to keep it going, definitely give me a shout!

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1 Comments:

At 11:48 PM , OpenID alittletypical said...

This is so inspiring! My blog has been stagnant for almost 2 months as I suddenly lost the mood to write a post. Great ideas for my future 2014 blog posts.

 

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