Monday, April 2, 2018

The 100 Day Project: #the100dayofdays

Happy Spring (even if it doesn't feel like it)! And Happy (late) Easter! And Happy Monday!
Tomorrow is a big day...and not just because it might reach a temperature above 50 degreese (seriously?!! with teh April snow showers? I can't take it anymore!) It's the start of The 100 Day Project!

If you're not familiar, The 100 Day Project is a creative challenge where you do/make something...anything...every day for 100 days in a row (and then share about it on Instagram, obviously). It's become wildly popular, with artists, writers, and creators of all kinds joining in each year (check out #the100dayproject to see- or follow- all the fun).

Last year I participated for the first time- my "theme" was #100daysofshowyourreal (just sharing something real from my life every day- through words and pictures). And I fell in love with the project. It pushed me to create more, reflect more, share more...I felt inspired, and stretched, and loved the sense of community that formed as others were willing to get vulnerable along the way too. At the end of 100 days I had a collection of thoughts and memories (which I made into a book), so it was not only a fun exercise while I was in it, but it lead me to create a meaningful record of my work, and my heart.

So when the project came around this year, I knew I wanted to do it again- I just had to figure out my idea. I only had a few stipulations...Whatever I landed on needed to be:
  • Easy- 100 days of anything is lofty, and I didn't want to get burned out just because I set the my expectations or perimeters too high. I'm an eternal "bite off more than I can chew" kind of girl, so with things like this I'm working on setting reaaaaaaally reasonable goals for myself, so that I can be pleasantly surprised when I exceed them rather than constantly frustrated that things are more overwhelming than I thought.
  • Meaningful- without passion and a purpose behind it, I know I won't be able to stick with the project. Feeling like the output matters- for any reason, and even just to me- is key in helping me push through the creative block or struggles with keeping up. Yes, there is absolute value in doing for doing's sake, so I don't want to get caught up in making every single day a masterpiece, but at the same time, if I'm going to devote this much time and effort to something, I want to feel like it there's a larger point to it all in the end. Doesn't have to be life-changing...just something tangible to look back on with pride and gratitude.
  • Portable- the time period overlaps with a couple vacations, and work trips etc. so it has to be something I can do on the go. This is helpful even on "regular" days too, because it means I can get it done anywhere, vs. having to carve out dedicated space/time to do it.
  • Fun- or why do it, right?
What I loved about my Show Your Real project is it was basically a journal, with a loose theme; enough structure to give me a purpose, but enough leeway to not feel too confined with my ideas. The fact that it was just photos and captions meant I could do it anywhere and anytime. And while it didn't really push me to pick up a new skill (like drawing or hand-lettering etc.) it did encourage me to express myself more often, and devote more attention to hobbies- photography and writing- that I really enjoy.

Since it worked out before, I more or less just wanted to repeat my approach from last year, with a new "creative hook". And after a week or two of mulling it over, I found my inspiration- Days! (it was right there in the title all along!) But specifically- I'm thinking of those crazy "official" daily holidays that someone somewhere made up, and the whole internet just goes along with. You know what I'm talking about: National Kitten Day, Craft Beer Day, Hug a Newsperson day (joke..but it's real, and it's coming up). I'll use those days as a starting point (I downloaded an app so I can keep an eye on the upcoming days)...but from there it's pretty free-form. Sometimes I'll participate in the actual holiday (anything with a food theme, probably), but more often I plan to use it as a jumping off point for musings...a writing prompt and inspiration to share some related memories, viewpoints, or ideas. Many of these days are pretty silly, so I'm excited to embrace some of that, and just lean into the cheesy simple pleasures of it all. We can all use a few more reasons to celebrate, right? How 'bout 100 more reasons? But at the same time, I'm hoping to also take it a little deeper than just executing 100 random tasks. I want it to be more about reflection than endless action, so I think it'll be a good stretch for me to focus on a different topic every day, and see what thoughts and emotions it stirs up.

A post shared by Courtney Bowden (@the100daysofdays) on

So...that's the plan. Plan-ish. Loosey-goosey. Feels good.

I'll be posting on @the100daysofdays using the hashtag #the100daysofdays. I'd be delighted if you'd follow along. And please let me know if you join in the project as well...I love following other folks' creative endevors!
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  1. What is the end date for 100 days? Bc I’m not good at math and I love this idea and want to play along.

    1. I haven't counted it out exactly- but it's a little over 3 months, so it goes until early/mid July. I'm excited you're going to do it!

    2. I hemmed and hawed over it yesterday and decided to just follow your journey. I love celebrating days so maybe I'll chronicle some of favorite off beat holiday celebrations here. Happy National Carrot Day