How To Complete a 365 Challenge

So I committed myself to drawing, painting, sewing, and/or sculpting 365 characters in 2013.  Like iHanna, who proposed this idea, the minute after I announced this project on my blog, I thought "Yikes!  Now what?!  Is that even really possible?"  So I began brainstorming ideas on what it will take for me (and perhaps others) to have a chance at following through with 365 in 2013.
  • First and foremost, I wouldn't attempt this sort of challenge if I wasn't already firmly rooted in creating every day.  If you haven't already developed a "create each day" habit, then make that your 365 goal.  That is a challenge just by itself.
  • If you do want to focus on something specific, keep it small
  • Define what counts as work for the challenge.  Work-in progress?  Finished works only? What medium will you focus on?  Give yourself options with broad definitions.  For example, could it "count," if you worked on collages for seven days but in actuality, only completed three?
  • Allow yourself to do other things.  I'm willing to bet most of us are "dabblers," so don't let challenge work take over your creative time (unless you really want to be that focused.)
  • If blogging about your efforts, think about how you will document your progress.  Will you post weekly?  Monthly?  Will you open a special folder at Flickr and refer readers to that when you've added new work?  Make this part as easy as possible; keep your focus on your studio efforts. 
  • Take the challenge a month at a time.  Forget that you said you'd do this for a year.
  • Understand that you probably won't work on the challenge every day.  Some weeks you'll do more; some weeks you'll do less.  
  • Put aside any thoughts of "being behind" or "catching up."  It isn't a race.
  • Be prepared for days or weeks at a time where doubt looms large.  The trick to defeating doubt is...
  • DON'T FOCUS ON THE NUMBER!  This might seem like a paradox since you just signed yourself up to make 365 of something.  However, the true point of the challenge is NOT how much you make but that you 1) have fun, 2) explore a medium in-depth, and 3) work consistently.  These three guidelines are the "cake" of this challenge and having 365 of something merely the cherry on top.  Notice that "have fun" is number one!
  • Push through any creative dry spells; there's great value in learning how to overcome perceived creative blocks.  If, however, you are consistently miserable, consider ending the challenge with your head held high.  If you don't want to give up altogether, then take a break for a week or two.  See how you feel.  Do you miss the challenge or are you breathing a sigh of relief?
  • Don't worry about what others might think if you don't reach 365.  Work until you feel fulfilled.
  • Gather a cheering section!  Support fellow 365ers.  Speak out when you are feeling like quitting.  Sometimes a few "You can do this!" comments make all the difference.
  • Think about what you will do with 365 of something (or 253, 60, or even 15).  That's a lot of stuff to store so have a plan for the aftermath of this challenge.  Give stuff away, trade, sell, display, repurpose.


After reading your original blog post about the 365 challenge, it inspired me to do something similar, but to use it as creating daily, as I tend not to do this. Your post has some very useful things to think about, so thank you.
iHanna said…
Great advice and awesome list! Thanks for joining and coming up with some great things to think about! I will be very happy if I make 100 collages this year for sure! How are you doing with your characters?
Terrie said…
This is MOST excellent. What great ideas - I'm going to print this out and keep it near my work table for those inevitable down times.... Thanks!
Beverley Baird said…
What great advice. Love your artwork as well - that quote is wonderful
Anonymous said…
This is great advice! I love the tip on not focusing on the number. I've been making a pattern a day since November, and I've finally been successful because I give myself a break on days I miss or make up the next day instead of obsessing about the fact that I missed a day.
Amy said…
Hi, just wanted to tell you I deleted my pin of this page on Pinterest, I apologize for pinning against your wishes; despite the obvious request at the top of your page I missed it! (duh). In any case, please know I only shared because I thought it was a good article that others would enjoy.