How to stick with your 100 Day Project

If you are an Instagram dweller like I am, you’ve probably seen The 100 Day Project hashtag. It’s an Instagram-based project started by Elle Luna @elleluna and Lindsay Jean Thomson @lindsayjeanthomson. If you haven’t see it, you can read up on it here.

I dallied with it last year but I was in the middle of working on my show so I was just too busy with that project to add another project onto the pile. This year I’ve been much more successful and will hit the halfway mark at the end of this week. I was thinking about what is different for me this year and I’ve come up with a few key points that I feel have helped me be more successful this year.

Pick a theme you will want to explore for 100 days

You need to pick a theme that you will love and that you will love waking up to every day. If you hate alpacas, don’t choose 100 days of drawing alpacas. Let someone else make that project awesome. You need to find something that you connect with already! So if you love alpacas and want to look at their goofy faces for a few minutes everyday, drawing 100 alpaca faces is your dream project. Hopefully by the end of the 100 days you will have developed a deeper understanding and joy in your theme.

Your project also needs to be able to bear many variations on your chosen theme. 100 days is almost four months. It has to be flexible enough to morph and grow over that time period so you can keep yourself interested and coming back every single day. If you can’t keep yourself interested in the project, you are gonna stop working on it. You want something flexible so that you have the ability to experiment and change directions if you need to.

My project this year is 100 Days of Pink and Yellow. My theme is the study of pink and yellow. I picked this for a couple of reasons. At the beginning of the year, I chose Hope as my one little word. I ended up choosing some colors to go with that because you know, if it’s good enough for Pantone, it’s good enough for me. I chose pink and yellow. So this 100 Day Project is a way to explore those more in depth. I also have 2 more guidelines for my project. The finished pieces have to be 5×7” and they have to consist of pink and yellow paint and collage.

Pick something that you can spend just minutes a day on

This is not the project for completing 100 movies about alpacas. Maybe you can complete one movie about one alpaca over the course of the 100 days and spend 20 minutes a day filming, scoring, or editing.

This is why I sized my pieces 5×7”. I can complete one in only a handful of minutes. I batch my week’s worth of background painting at the beginning of the week and then have a stack of painted backgrounds to choose from each day. If you can, build this project into your schedule early in the day so you are assured of getting your work done daily. 

Choose beforehand if you are completing 100 pieces or dedicating time everyday to the project

Personally, the habit is the more important part to me. I want to work every day so that I reinforce my habit of being creative every day. I doubled up here and chose something small that I could complete every day but you can easily decide to do one or the other based on what you want to accomplish. I feel like having this piece clarified beforehand will go a long way to helping you stay on track. Reminding yourself of what your goal is will (hopefully!) help sustain your motivation.

Enlist some friends to work on the project with you!

Because I’m a part of the Get Messy Art Journal community, that support is built right in. We even have our own 100 Day Project hashtag so we can cheer each other on. If you have Instagram art pals or local art pals, see if they are doing the project as well and work out an accountability circle. Knowing you are in it together can be very motivating. And then check in on them! Good karma is a thing so if you are being encouraging to others, they will return the favor!

Don’t sweat it if you miss a day here and there

I know so many people who get discouraged if they miss a day or two or four. Don’t give up. Just start back to work! Completing 75 days of the 100 Day Project is commendable! Building a daily art practice takes time. If you finish this project, or somehow get stuck or stumped, there’ s no rule that says you can’t immediately start another 100 Day Project or a 30 day challenge. Do what works for you and reap the sweet, sweet benefits. The benefit being you are making something every day to help fulfill your creative soul. Now is not the time or place for beating up on yourself for for not completing the whole challenge. Perfectionism is just one form the inner critic can take. And the inner critic is not welcome here.

Don’t worry if every day’s creation isn’t a masterpiece

If you manage to become the next Picasso over a series of 100 Day Projects, awesome!! But if you only get five amazing pieces from your 100 day project then count yourself successful because you have five more good pieces of work than when you started. Don’t fret if you don’t love every day’s work. Don’t let a daily disappointment here and there derail your goals.

A couple of helpful links

Where I write more about my 100 Day Project: My 2018 100 Day Project

The How She Creates Podcast has a great 100 Day Project episode. I listened to it the other day and it catalyzed a bunch of these ideas for me. I even have a shoutout near the end!

Here’s an amazing tale of one woman’s 100 Day Project.

Allie Lehman has a great post on what she learned from the 100 Day Project in 2017.

How’s your 100 Day Project going? Share with me in the comments!