100 days is a long time!
I’ve completed a few month-long challenges (Blogtober, Meet the Maker, Colour My Every Day) without issue but that still didn’t completely prepare me for this. Many people drop out of monthly challenges in the first week so I definitely recommend trying a shorter challenge first to find out if it’s something you can stick to. When you choose your theme, pick something you’re sure you can keep doing for a long time. My theme of kawaii characters was pretty wide and something that I was already doing regularly.
Set your own schedule, but try to keep up
The 100 days don’t need to be consecutive so I planned not to force myself into posting every day as I knew from experience that it’s not always possible. However, I did try to keep up as long projects are all about momentum. When I stopped for a break in the summer, it was quite a relief not to have to keep drawing new things all the time and I could very easily have dropped out. It’s also harder once other people start completing their projects and you’re left on your own to get to the finish line.
Keep yourself motivated with a goal
If your daily posts are part of something bigger, you’ll find it easier to stay motivated and complete the project. Think of this as a chance to learn something new, practice a skill or work towards a goal like creating patterns or products to sell, publishing a book/zine etc. My goals were to do something with all my sketchbook doodles, practice drawing on my iPad, figure out how to draw cute cats and get better at sharing sketches and unfinished work.
The only rule with the 100 Day Project is that you need to post 100 updates so you can interpret this any way you like. Some people I followed used it as a 100 day stretch of time that they would work on a few set ideas or just being creative, while others shared the progress of 10 finished items over 10 days each. It helped me a lot to realise that I didn’t have to create 100 brand new unique completed characters. Instead, I could share my design process so you could see characters go from quick sketch to finished pattern.
…but plan ahead
100 is a big number! I made a list before I started to make sure I could think of 100 things and also took requests. To make the list, I looked through my old sketchbooks, lists of product and pattern ideas, and then went through the full list of emojis for inspiration! I should also have checked a marketing holiday calendar in advance for things like National Biscuit Day as those usually ended up being done in a rush after seeing something on social media.
Set a schedule that works for you
I knew I wouldn’t want to draw something every day so instead I would draw 3 or 4 things on a Sunday and Thursday. On Fridays, I would finish up my weekly pattern and upload it to my on-demand shops so that the products would appear in my shops in time for Sunday. I also found it best to share my posts first thing in the morning so it became a habit, but I didn’t beat myself up if I posted late or skipped a day.
Follow others doing the challenge
One of the best things about doing the 100 Day Project is finding new people to follow. Check the #The100DayProject hashtag for the first few days and you’re sure to find a few people doing things you love. Follow them and leave comments and they will probably check out your posts too. Seeing their posts every day helped keep me motivated as I didn’t want to fall too far behind.
Give yourself a break at the end, and celebrate your success
I struggled at times during the challenge but the last 20 or so drawings happened really quickly. I was very very happy for it all to be over, but also a little sad. I took some time to look over what I’d created, write some blog posts, start choosing characters for new products and make a zine. If you’ve achieved your goals, you need to take a moment to be proud of what you’ve created. It’s good to do this at milestones too – reaching 25, 50 & 75 posts felt like a big deal at the time so it’s worth giving yourself a pat on the back to keep going.
Just because the 100 days are over, doesn’t mean you should stop. I still have 46 ideas left on my list! I don’t want to waste all the skills I learned over the 100 days so I’ll be making sure to keep going, just at a much slower pace.
If you’re thinking about doing a 100 Day Project yourself, I say go for it! Finding the time and motivation to start a big project is always difficult and this way you get a readymade start date and cheer squad. As long as you don’t put too much pressure on yourself if life gets in the way, you’re sure to create something you’re proud of.