After enviously observing #The100DayProject for years I finally decided to join in 2017. If I’d fail at least I still would have tried, right? A hundred days (and a hundred mini-mandalas later) I’ve successfully finished the project and feel super excited about it. The project inspired me to create every day and made me connect with creative people who do the same. Because I’ve been anxiously googling tips & experiences before I started (never start something before googling it to death!) I decided to share a few things I’ve learned for all of you considering on joining.
Just do it
“Oh I’d love to do the project, but I already have a dinner scheduled for that one Saturday four weeks from now and I don’t know if I can find time that day so I might join next time, ok bye!”
Sounds familiar? I’m a pro in finding excuses like this, and the reason I didn’t do this project earlier is probably because of them. I agree, a hundred days is quite a commitment, but it’s actually a commitment to yourself to take time every day to do something you love.
Oh and if you actually have that dinner party/festival/mini-vacation/super-lazy-day: don’t worry, the project won’t fail if you take a day off.
A community helps
I’m cheating a bit on this one ‘cause I already learned this from joining #28tomake from Creative Live last year, but since it’s very true: having a community for support really, really helps.
First of all: online. Find the right place for people to interact with: maybe a Facebook group, the hashtag on Instagram or a group of people on Dribbble. Find a project you really like and talk to the creator. It’s so nice to make new friends online and have people know what you’re doing - it will give you great energy!
Next to that: Tell your friends. Your family. Your co-workers. Everybody will be excited for you and support you, a great motivational boost to keep on going. Telling people also helps on not easily giving up, once you’ve told someone you’re doing this it feels only natural to keep your promise.
It’s actually not that hard
Remember how many pages (or movie minutes) Frodo & his friends needed to reach Mount Doom? That was how I felt about the project. It would be rough. It would mean I had to let other things go. It would mean I had to commit to creating on days I’d rather not touch my computer at all. Blood, sweat, tears, and the whole shebang.
Well, that didn’t exactly turn out to be true. Where Frodo wasn’t too keen on fighting off a giant spider to destroy a ring, I’m actually really keen on creating. Creating every day turned out to be fun! Of course there were those days - coming home after a long day at work for instance - where I just wanted to sit down and watch a movie, yet doing so after a long day and working on your project feels like a major achievement.
Not everything has to be perfect
So this is a tough one. It’s one of the biggest cliches to say as a creator, but being a perfectionist is one of the pet-peeves for all of us. Including me. I’ve got plenty of illustrations, drawings, logos and designs that live in folders on my harddisk because I don’t think they’re worthy of being seen by others.
Did I think every mandala was my best work? No! Did it matter? No! Sharing something you’re only mildly excited about can be a challenge, but also be very rewarding. Maybe someone comments with a tip to improve, maybe you make a second version a few days later or maybe it isn’t as bad as you thought it was. This project really taught me that not everything has to be perfect - it’s about the art of creating.
…and how to make a mandala in minutes
Last but not least: skills! I’ve created mandalas before - they are so much fun to make! - but never committed to them as I did now. I learned what works best and what doesn’t. I now know what shapes make the best overlapping figures. I figured some things out in Illustrator I didn’t know how to do, and challenged myself to work in colors I’m not too fond of. Looking at you yellow!