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  • Writer's pictureSteph Holmes

182 Days into the 100 Day Project

"Giant Stag Beetle 2", graphite on recycled paper, 5.5" x 5.5"

Drawing 37/100

I'm on Drawing 81 today, which means it's taken me 182 days to get 80 drawings in this daily drawing challenge. I'm going to explain why I am still JUMPING UP AND DOWN with excitement and viewing this as a massive win, even though it has all the trappings of a complete and utter failure.

First, do you know what the 100 Day Project is? Head over here if you're interested in starting your own. To boil it down, the 100 Day Project is an open invitation to anyone who would like to commit to some small act of creativity every day for 100 consecutive days. You don't need to be an artist, just curious at what might happen if you commit to spending a slice of your day being creative. I chose drawing specifically, but you can do anything. People have completed all sorts of fun, somber, involved, casual, creative projects, and there's a lot of inspiration to be had in exploring them online!

"Self Portrait 3", graphite on recycled paper, 3.5" x 3.5"

Drawing 31/100

Okay, why did I start my project? For many reasons!

1. Using Time: like so many others, I found myself working from home as our world shutdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. I've been lucky in that I'm still working full time, but quarantine has meant no commute time, no social events, nothing other than working and washing a ton of dishes and worrying. So I have more time now and if I don't decide to fill it with something positive, then I'll be rage crying at the news all evening (that still happens).

2. Gaining Creative Energy: I've really been struggling to stay creative. My store of energy has been depleted for so long, that walking into my studio was really the last thing I wanted to do. I recently found a calendar taped to the wall from last year where I was documenting how much time I was devoting to art every week. It was an attempt to be shocked at how little time I spent making and to scrape together the motivation needed to get me there more often. It's sad to see, but just 8 months ago, I was barely able to get more than an hour or two of creative work time every week. If this really is my passion, then I need to be devoting way more time to it.

3. Becoming Persistent: Previously when I began personal projects that required consistent making and attention, I'd always self-sabotage and quit a few days in. I never understood what that invisible wall was until I started reading about perfectionism and was finally able to articulate the problem. My expectations for myself are perfection. Anything less than that is cause for severe disappointment and shame. That's why when I had a little hiccup a few days into a project and would have to skip a work session, I would just quit altogether because it was ruined.

So I knew I needed to do a long term project in which the goal would be to persist despite imperfections. Post that drawing on social media even though you hate it. Post it even though it could be better. Give yourself permission to take a break during a global health crisis, but eventually get back to the studio and pick up where you left off because it's ultimately good for you. Do the thing you committed to doing, do it despite the fact that it's not perfect, and hold onto the reasons why that imperfect thing is cause to celebrate!

"Looking at Last Year", acrylic paint and chalk on recycled print, 8.5" x 8.5" Drawing 21/100

So, I hope you'll join me on my 100 Day Project and check in from time-to-time. With roughly 20 days to go, the finish line is on the horizon! New drawings are posted in my Art Gallery, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

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