A.K.A. How Jumping In With Both Feet Beats Waiting For “Perfection” Every Time
Or: You Gotta Start Somewhere!
A couple months ago, my husband sent me an article about a challenge, where you choose an action…any action… and repeat it for 100 days. It is called the 100 Day Project and you can join or learn more about it here. This challenge originally began as a grad school project at Yale.
“For years, Michael Bierut led graduate graphic design students at the Yale School of Art in a workshop that he called “The 100 Day Project.” The premise for the class was simple: each student chose one action to repeat every day for 100 days. For example, one student made a poster in under a minute every day for 100 days; another danced in public every day and made a video; another student, Rachel Berger, picked a paint chip out of a bag and responded to it in writing for 100 days.” – The Great Discontent
As makers, artisans, designers, student’s, mom’s, etc., we can overthink an idea to death…literally. Thinking about it, rather than doing, can become paralyzing. The idea never even begins. We all struggle with this in one form or another, whether it’s as simple as a project we’ve been meaning to take on, but is so overwhelming, I think I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes next week, next month etc. We don’t even begin.
This 100 day project has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. With my ETSY shop, blog and social media, I like to have everything listed, curated and optimized to perfection before hitting the “publish” button. Unfortunately, this can lead to delays. Then delays can turn into inaction, not publishing or creating at all.
I decided to take the challenge and see where it leads me. This challenge in particular has to do with Social Media. I am always looking for new product and designs I can create for my shop, therefore, I didn’t want to limit the type of design to any one action. The design process from concept to listing a product in my store has so many different components. Sketching or journaling an idea or inspiration, actually making it, photographing it, photo editing for lighting adjustments, etc., creating graphics, posting on social media and creating the listing for my shop are only some of the creative steps involved in each design. For this reason, I chose #100daysofdesign as my hashtag. Whether it is a photo that came out particularly nice, new packaging design, to actual new product design, or a new color, etc, it is all part of my design process.
As creatives, putting your creations “out there” can be a little scary to start with. While creating something to post every day, there’s no time for perfectionism, it’s just the act of designing and letting go in any direction inspiration leads.
“What if I don’t “love” everything I post?…I won’t.”
” What if I miss a day?…I will.”
” What if I “fail”?…so what. ”
Total acceptance of this and choosing to continue anyway is quite freeing. The most amazing thing has started to happen. Items that I don’t find perfect yet are sometimes some of my most favorited creations on social media! What if I had waited for them to be perfect before I posted? They would still be ideas I am working on, or still in my head!
Now here we are, a little past half way thru The 100 Day Project and I can honestly say it has been a difficult, challenging, yet wonderful, fulfilling exercise. My worst fears came true: I don’t “love” everything I have created, some have been complete “fails” in my view, and I have missed a day posting here and there. I have found that the Earth still turns, life has gone on. I doubt any of my followers have even noticed if I miss a day, or know which designs I’m not super crazy about or consider failures. Here is what I have also found: You all have been so amazing and supportive. I have the best followers in the world. I have been able to reconnect with some old friends, make new ones and even gain more followers than I have lost (my Instagram analytics are a blessing and a curse – lol). I have had so much fun and it has been very fulfilling. My two cents: “Don’t wait for it to be perfect before putting yourself “out there”. I highly recommend it.”
To see all of my new designs from this exercise, check out my Instagram profile here.