Wednesday, April 19

Things I learned from doing a 100 Day Project

Doing a 100 day project made me super organised and productive (and it got me out of my overdraft).

I created all 100 images within 100 days, for some busy spells I created a series and posted them one-by-one to manage my time better, but all in all I didn't miss one single day. It was like a creative marathon, and YOU COULD DO IT TOO! I really recommend doing a 100 day project. It's a delicious amount of time for your brain to cope with, it gets you into a habit of making work every day, and it's lovely to look back on everything you've done.

Some people use 100 day projects to get healthy or build good habits, but I've found that making work every day has had a positive effect on everything else automatically. Being disciplined enough to sit at my desk and paint every day quickly spilled over into giving up coffee, eating 3 healthy meals a day, making my bed every morning and so on. Painting every day is like therapy. Even if the work you make is "awful" (and what is good and bad, really? It's all subjective) you made it! Feel proud! Something twitched in your brain, and came out through your hands into a piece of artwork. I think that is the coolest thing of all, never mind whether or not anybody buys it or even likes it.

A note on social media: This 100 days was a steep learning curve for how I used Instagram. I made some massive changes and found out things I had almost no idea about. Namely hashtags, WHEN to post, writing captions and boosting engagement. Major shout out to Me and Orla for all of Sara Tasker's great Instagram tips. The 'Instaretreat' is a wonderful resource and i've seen an increase in engagement and followers on Instagram, but also Facebook and Twitter have benefitted. I'm by no means a social media expert but incorporating a few new tips was a lovely little boost.

If you'd like more resources and information about setting a 100 day goal - Julia Bickerstaff at the Small Business Bakery is wonder woman extraordinaire of all things goal-setting and small businessy. Her email list is worth signing up to. It's free and during the goal she sends out little reminders and encouragements every day.

The next one starts on the 1st of May.

My 100 Day Project Book. Available to pre-order now! Will be shipped in May.

100 days, one book, a set of floral cards, and a trio of pigs later, here are some things I learned:

Do something every day.
100 things mounts up. Now I have a book from this 100 day project, and another travel book from the work I created while I was travelling through Asia last year. There's no way I would have made either of those books if I hadn't committed to chipping away at my goal for 100 days.

Live illustrating for Edinburgh University last month. I wouldn't have applied for this job if I hadn't been all efficient and 100 day projecty. Photo credit:Anna červinková

Work even when you don't feel like working, and magic things happen.
Here are some of the magic things that happened: I got my first children's book commission (completing that is going to be my next 100 day project, ha.) I started selling original paintings for the first time and they sold! I made greetings cards and they sold! My travel sketchbook got reviewed by the king of reportage illustration, Gary Embury, I had lots of commission requests and had to start turning work down. I also started recording how I was spending my time every day on a time sheet. It turned out I was spending a lot of time emailing, and not much time making, so I changed that around. I held a children's art workshop in my local tiny town and almost 30 children came along! (Exactly 27 children came, and that is my lucky number. Yaas)

You can be creative every single day.
You have time for whatever you make time for. I deactivated my Facebook account for these 100 days and VOILA I had an extra 1-2 hours per day on my hands. Yes. I definitely did spend that much time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Millenial problems. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking "ah i'm not in a very creative mood today" or deciding that you don't have enough time for X Y or Z. Rubbish. If you look carefully at your schedule, you'll see something that can go. If you want to carve out time for creativity, you can make time. Social media, watching TV and films, going to the pub, spending ages cooking elaborate meals - whatever it is, you can cut it out. No need to live like a hermit, and remember it's not forever, just give yourself the extra time you want/need. I didn't miss Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are much nicer anyway.

Work out your painting and drawing muscles and you'll get faster and better.
During the first couple of weeks of the 100 day project I was spending about 1 or two hours on my 100 day paintings, but as time went on I got SUPER SPEEDY. I also set a timer so that I wasn't spending my entire days painting one picture. This has had an effect on all of my work. I've been able to study full-time, work on freelance projects and get both done to a standard i'm happy with without missing any deadlines.

I love being obsessed with things and focusing on one goal/outcome.
And this was no exception. Might as well use that obsessive tendency to get some work done! Figure out what your strengths are and work with them.

Breaking a task down into tiny manageable chunks is A Good Idea. 
It takes away overwhelm and anxiety. I'm a world class procrastinator but this do-a-thing-every-day made all the difference. If I can do one tiny thing a day, so can you. Dump perfectionism, it's a waste of energy. Also, stop worrying about what other people think. "There's one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about."

Set a goal for your 100 day project!
My goal was to earn "a living" in 100 days from illustration. I chose a number that seemed achievable but also a bit scary. I smashed it! In 100 days I've gone from being in my overdraft, to having a bit of savings and being able to move out of my Mum's house and pay rent. Magic.

Thank you to everyone who bought an original painting. They've been sent out to California, Paris, all over the UK and Germany to name but a few. Thank you for buying mother's day cards! And my old travel sketchbook! (There are only 3 left for sale now.) Thank you for buying pig prints and prints of the 100 day project images. You are all the best. 

Are you thinking of starting a 100 day goal or project? I'd love to hear about it and see your progress. Let me know if you're joining for the 1st of May :)

Katie x

See all of the project images here on Instagram - @katiedraws

I'm also on Facebook and Twitter

**This blog post is not an advert for anyone or anything - I only write my real-life opinions**

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, Katie. It's been wonderful to see all the work that you have created during this 100 days and now to read about your process and lessons is just fab. Thank you! Jackie x


#linkwithin_logolink_0 {display:none;}