Those of you who know me know I’m no stranger to the daily challenge. Every year, in November, I write a novel in 30 days as part of NaNoWriMo. So, it’s probably no surprise that I would be interested in taking on another challenge like the 100 Day Project from Elle Luna.
I learned a long time ago that creativity is a daily habit. It’s not something that always presents itself as a momentous event. It grows, most often, like a seed. Slowly, deliberate and yet natural. You have to nurture it, pay attention, but mostly you just have to show up.
Elle Luna, of course, knows all about this. I read and discussed her fantastic book “The Crossroads of Should and Must” with Kayla Hollatz for the #CreateLounge podcast. I’m very thankful for the lessons I learned from it, most of which boil down to the idea that we have to choose Must, the things we are called to do, each and every day.
It’s hard sometimes, I’ll admit, to accept that I’ll never get to a point where this becomes effortless. The writing, the brainstorming, the creativity, they feel natural, but they all take a certain amount of effort, and some days take more than others. But, like I said, it’s a habit. It’s something you have to come back to, commit to, each and every day. But when you do that, something amazing happens.
The 100 Day Project, like any good daily challenge, is fairly straightforward.
Pick a project and do it for 100 days.
Again, this is nothing new to me. But when I decided I wanted to do it this year, I found I couldn’t hit on one project I wanted to tackle. It wasn’t due to a lack of ideas, of course. There are a lot of things I could do. I still have the novel I started in last year’s Nano that I need to complete. Along with that are a dozen stories I could get started on, and about a million more I could flesh out. Even besides writing, there are some things I could put energy into. New projects, new endeavors, job hunting, trying to get out to Minneapolis. But nothing struck me as the one, and only, thing I needed to be doing.
For their 100 Day Project, a lot of people go with the simple daily prompt. They choose one thing that they’d like to do everyday. For some it’s writing a poem, for some its art, for some its simply journaling. Poet, and fellow CreateLounger, Fida Islaih is literally turning her poems into art with #100daysofsketchpoetry.
It’s a good way to approach things. It keeps you from having to map out every single day, and, of course, it helps build that daily habit of creativity. And that’s why I wanted to do with my 100 Day Project, only I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do 100 days of.
Writing? Drawing? Journaling? They all felt like good candidates, but I felt like I missing something. A theme. I’ve done journaling challenges, writing challenges, even Instagram challenges, and I’ve been thankful for the skills they’ve help me build, the things they helped me discover. But I don’t want to do 100 days of writing or journaling or Instagram, and yet, at the same time I do.
I realized my problem was that I didn’t feel like I could make any of those last 100 days. It’s not that I don’t know how to focus or commit, it’s just that I didn’t want to lock myself into one thing, one project, for 100 days. Instead, I wanted to allow myself the freedom to pursue what project I needed to when I needed to, as long as I was pursuing something.
Because what I’m committing to isn’t 100 days of one kind of creativity, what I’m committing to is 100 days of creating. I’ve done Nanowrimo for 6 years, completed for 5, and I’ve learned a lot, but mostly I’ve learned exactly what I can do in 30 days. And that’s the thing I want to commit to here and now.
I want to commit to what I can do in a 100 days. Whether that’s one project or a hundred, I want to commit to that for no other reason than because I want to see it happen. In the end, there are all sorts of project I could pursue, but the Must of my creativity is the creativity itself. The ability to bring to life something that did not exist before. That, pursued for its own sake, is never fruitless.
So, I’m committing to 100 Days of Creating. Already, I know it’s going to be a challenge, to weave this into my already busy life, to continue to create when it would feel so easy to skip a day. And while I’ve already got an idea to start on tomorrow, (more on that later), I don’t know what will come next. That, of course, is all a part of the excitement.
100 days from today is July 12. That date probably doesn’t jump out at you. I can’t think of anything significant about it right now. But something tells me I will when I get there. Something tells me that in 100 days things will be different. I will be different. And I will be glad I started this 100 days ago.