It began with a question: What would you do with 100 days of making?
I’d seen the posts on Twitter and Facebook, but hadn’t really paid attention to them because they seemed aimed at people who painted or sculpted or took pictures of something other than dogs and morning coffee.
But then my friend Deb said she was thinking about participating in this project – The 100 Day Project, in order to stretch long dis-used fiction-writing muscles, and would I consider doing it, too? (This is usual for us. Partly, I think, it’s because we often respond to similar things, but also it’s because committing to a project is a little less daunting if you’re doing it with a friend.)
I told her I’d think about it, and then ignored the invitation for a week, after which I went to the web page where the project founder, Elle Luna, was interviewed, and I read more about the whole thing, and finally I committed to the project.
I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m a little bit phobic about commitments. I mean, I was the girl who never wanted to get married when I was younger, and when Deb and Becca and I were in the pre-launch stages of this very ezine, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be part of it. My brain just gets weird like that sometimes.
I’m going to tell you another secret: I think we creative types need a little bit of external accountability. At least, I know I do. I started blogging over a decade ago, because I am incapable of keeping a journal. I mean, what’s the point of writing things no one will ever read? But my secondary motivation was that if I had to put my writing somewhere public, I’d have to stick with it.
That’s why I love The 100 Day Project.
It provides accountability, but not a lot of it. It’s finite – slightly longer than three months. It’s also flexible. You can draw, paint, sculpt, collage, write, shoot photos, knit, sew, embroider, sing or play music, or cook. Basically anything that can be repeated daily fits into this project.
When I signed up to do The 10 Day Project last year, it was just before the start date, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. A few of the people I follow on Instagram, where this project lives, were posting snippets of prose or poetry, apparently typed on paper, and I loved that concept, but didn’t know how to execute it. (Now I do know, but it’s too much work.)
I also have a great love of micro-fiction, flash-fiction, and American Sentences (17-word sentences that are emotionally truthful.)
I chose, then, to commit to writing one really good sentence, scene, or story, whatever would fit completely onto a typical 3×5 notecard, which I would photograph and post on Instagram, per the project rules. To make it more interesting for me, I bought a multi-pack of note-cards in five bright colors. Even better? They were Post-It ™ notecards, so once a photo had been uploaded, I began sticking them on the front (and eventually the side) of my fridge.
It got to the point where friends who were visiting would go directly to my kitchen to see what had been added since they were last in my house, and I can’t deny that watching the columns of colored cards expand to fill so much space was kind of cool.
That each of them was covered with my words, was even cooler.
But that was last year. The 100 Day Project begins again on Tuesday, April 19th, and while I’m definitely participating again, I haven’t quite decided how. I’m already writing so much that adding another writing project, especially one I’ve already completed seems counter-intuitive. I’ve been doing a lot of kitchen experimentation lately, so I might try a food-based project. Not a whole new meal, every day, but definitely a featured daily recipe.
I guess my Instagram feed will be filling up with food-porn this spring and summer.
As for you… dear reader… wouldn’t you like to participate in The 100 Day Project with me?
What would you do with 100 days of making?
About the author: Melissa A. Bartell
Melissa is a writer, voice actor, podcaster, itinerant musician, voracious reader, and collector of hats and rescue dogs. She is the author of The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Holiday Tub. You can learn more about her on her blog, or connect with her on on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.