What I've Learned So Far On My 100 Day Project
So as you'll already know, I've been taking part in the 100 Day Project, doing hand lettering/modern calligraphy pieces each day. I just wanted to take a moment at the half way mark to round up a few of the things I've learned or noticed since starting on April 4th. Throughout this post you'll see my personal favourites!
Time goes scarily fast. So April 4th seems like such a long time ago it's weird to think it in terms of 50 days. Having a project that I have to add a little piece every day has made the time go by so quickly I'm surprised to look back and see how much I've done and eager to see what happens in the next 50 days.
I'm more determined than I expected. I didn't think I'd be able to keep up. Like my project may not look like much, but it does take time to make sure the layout is balanced and I'm confident in making the strokes. I practice on A5 sheets of paper as practice then transfer the final into an A4 sketchbook where I've been keeping track of each day. It's satisfying to see all of the days adding up and seeing progress and refining of the characters. I'm super happy with the sketchbook I found. If you're interested in doing a 100 Day Project and want to keep it all in one place, this is the sketchbook I've been using.
A little bit every day really does add up. I'm sure many people will have heard a saying along the lines of 'a little bit each day make a big difference' or something like that. So for anyone who has kept up with their 100 Day Project should be able to look back and see the body of work they've assembled by just doing a little bit each day. It's amazing, and to think it's not taken much time at all. I find it hugely reassuring that I can do something like this in other projects and slowly but surely build something instead of feeling like I have to tackle half of it on the first sitting.
Work doesn't always have to be on topic or on trend. If you have been keeping up, I have tried to do phrases or words that are on topic. Such as Mental Health Awareness week, birthdays, registering to vote and so on, but some of my most liked images have been random phrases I've just created on a whim. It can be exhausting trying to stay on trend sometimes and part of being a creative is the fact that I could potentially set a trend off myself- or most likely just be accepted for doing my own thing.
It really does matter if you're supported by family and friends. So this one is definitely personal, but it may apply to someone else as well. It's quite hard not receiving online support from family and friends. Likes aren't everything but feeling like you're doing something good and making progress and hearing back from your nearest and dearest are good indicators usually. I've learned to get past most of this, as there are a small number of friends who have been supporting me in their ways, but for some people I thought might have offered encouragement I've sadly been mistaken. It's not the end of the world though, because I do this work for myself and not for others, and for some people they've sent private messages of encouragement when I've needed it even if it isn't in the form of a Like on Instagram or Facebook. If you're reading this and thought that your creative friend 'didn't need likes and comments' etc, give them anyway because it helps build their confidence little by little and helps them take on the creative scene with a bit more spring in their step.
Skills develop as you go along and also in practice. I've had a few people ask me how I do my lettering and how I got so good at it (thank you by the way, it's nice not to just imagine what it would be like to receive comments like that) and all I can say is that I kept at it. Patience has helped me a lot with tackling the skills and building them up as I go along. I'm by no means a professional, but I'm not quitting just because I'm not professional either. Practising my craft, and practising yours too, is the only way to get to the level we want. Setting little goals or tasks to help me along the way and also keeping an open mind and accepting my mistakes is all part of the process of getting me where I want to be. Mistakes aren't as huge as we make ourselves think, so just accept and start again.
Confidence isn't built over night. When I first started putting my work up on Instagram I thought I'd be boo'd and get silly comments telling me to keep my beginner scribbles to myself. It's pretty intimidating to put your work online because (for me and many others) a lot of hard work and effort and patience and so on has been put into it, so when we publish online into a world of pristine elegant photography it can be super scary as a beginner. Luckily I got a few more likes than I expected and as I began to understand Instagram better I introduced hashtags and so on. If you look back on my Instagram profile you can actually see how my style has changed and I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with it and not shutting it down. It's taken me a while to build my confidence and even now I worry about how my work may be perceived, so if anyone reading this is worried- don't be. Put it out there and I assure you someone will like it. Hard effort is appreciated, maybe not by our close circles but someone around the world will like what you create.
I write captions that I would want to read, as messages can be as powerful as visuals. Similar to the confidence thing, I used to omit from putting captions on there that I thought may upset someone. Until I started this project I didn't write much, I kept the captions very brief and to the point. Not many of my opinions were aired and I kept it pretty quiet. Nowadays I put the sorts of captions I would want to read on there if I feel that a message needs to be heard. Sometimes the least likely person to say their opinion can change the mind of others. On my Mental Health Awareness post I kept it fairly brief but I got to the point and I would have happily carried on but for something so complex and personal I felt a short snappy caption was best. I believe that if you have any kind of following on Instagram -big or small- you do kind of have a responsibility to help your audience. The fact you've taken the time to grow your numbers to such an extent, I think you should be encouraging them to be their best selves and look after themselves. Some captions I've read I sometimes really needed to hear at that moment, and I wonder if any of my captions would be the same for someone else.
The 100 Day project is quite a big commitment to take on, especially like some people I've followed who are at university and in full time work like myself, so if you're reading this and are also on day 50 (or even any day but plodding along) I'm incredibly proud of you. I thought it would be quite an easy thing, I mean I'm only doing something small each day aren't I?, but it's a commitment I've been keeping to myself and I've made sure I've done it or done it in advance for when I've been busy. These are the things I've learned about myself whilst doing this project and I'm sure I've got a few more things to learn in the next 50 days and beyond. I've rounded up all of my favourite images from this project so far, and on my next post regarding this subject, I'll even share all the practice pieces I've kept to show you all of the errors (including some slightly embarrassing ones).
Thank you for reading this post if you've made it to the end! Are you doing the 100 Day Project? What're you doing if so? What do you think to the things I've learned, and is there anything you've learned as well? CK♥