Between today, August 21, and December 31, we have 133 days before the end of 2017.
I invite all of you creatives out there to ask yourselves the question I'm asking myself today: How do I want to spend the next four months? Do I want to spend it scrolling through my phone, railing at the news, and feeling overwhelmed by my to do list? Or, do I want to show up for myself and my art 100 times over the next 133 days and create something?
I choose to create.
I hope you'll join me.
Tag me on Instagram @journalofawriter, and I'll make sure to come by to wave my pom poms and sprinkle glitter dust to cheer you on! 💕
welcome to, #showup100!
The only guideline for this project is to show up for yourself and for your art 100 times between now and December 31. You can join us at any time. Just think, with 133 days between now and New Year's Eve, we have a month's worth of days for life to happen. That means that we have a bank of 33 guilt-free days to celebrate our holidays, handle our day job deadlines, sleep in, binge watch a Netflix season or two (Stranger Things returns October 27, is what I'm saying!), look after ourselves on sick days, go on a CNN or HuffPo bender during the next cray news cycle, read a novel or two, and process any new video or visual album Beyonce releases (though, I'm hoping our Queen will hold off until 2019 because I'm still processing Lemonade).
With 33 days to spare, we can totally show up 100 times between now and New Year's Eve. We've got this!
create a log
For my #Showup100 project, I'm planning to create a log to record the days I showed up and what I did. I've decided not to use a calendar or planner because my gremlins will heckle me on the days I don't show up, even if I've planned not to show up; my gremlins are mean like that.
Instead of using my calendar, I'm going to use a traveler's notebook insert as my log (I'll post pics on Instagram once I've set it up). However, you could use a small notebook and log the date and a brief note about what you did each day you show up. Or, you could number a couple of pages from 1-100 and simply list the dates that you showed up along with a quick note or phrase that captures what you did. (I know you Bullet Journalers out there could make a beautiful spread to capture this!).
Share your progress
Use the #showup100 hashtag to share your project and your progress on social media. Instagram is my primary playground, so come say hello and share what you're working on.
some ways to #showup100
Keep in mind that #showup100 doesn't mean that you have to show up 100% each time. Some days showing up might look like writing 3-4 pages, completing a sketch, drafting a poem, or painting a small canvas. However, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, "You must learn to become a deeply disciplined half-ass." While we can be 100% committed to our art and making our things, we need to be flexible about how and when we show up. Over the next four months, showing up might look like....
- deciding on the project you want to focus on between now and the end of the year
- setting up your log page or notebook to capture the dates you showed up and what you did
- dreaming up a scene for your character while you're taking a shower, unloading the dishwasher, or picking up your kids' toys at the end of the day (write a note to in your log book to quickly capture your daydream)
- buying a new set of canvases, pastels, or watercolors for your project
- digging out and cleaning up the art supplies you already have at home
- clearing off your desk at night and tidying your workspace
- taking a few minutes before bed to write a brief note to yourself about the small step you want to take on your project the next day and around what time during the day you think you'll be able to do it
- reading a poem or watching a movie to study how it's structured and asking yourself if a similar structure would work for your project
- reading the first few chapters of a book to see how the point of view works and thinking about whether a similar point of view or voice would work for your project
- listening to a podcast interview with your favorite artist
- going on an Artist Date to refill your creative well
- writing one true sentence about your character or story à la Hemingway
- sitting in your car with a coffee or tea and taking a few minutes before going into work to jot down a list of images or details that come to mind when you're thinking about a scene, poem, or story you want to write
- doodling or making a quick sketch of something you want to create
- making a playlist to listen to while you're painting, knitting, or writing
- choosing one song to play as you get ready to sit down to your art each day
- writing out your main character(s)' horoscope
(Since I'm a writer, I'm drawing from the types of things I do, but I'd love to know how artists in other mediums show up. Send me a DM or comment on my IG post to let me know what other examples I could add to this list).
These small steps are brief moments of connection that can help us sustain a longterm project. As Louis L'amour says, "Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." Much of what we're doing during our 100 days is keeping the faucet on. Some days what we do will feel like a single drop, but those drops are going to add up and suddenly we will want to carve out that hour or 90 minutes to write the next scene of our novel, we will postpone looking at our email or the news until we've sketched out the next picture we want to paint, we will get up a little bit earlier or stay up a little bit later to make sure we do something for ourselves and for art on busy days. I spent the past 6 months with the faucet dripping: showing up and getting frustrated, showing up and moving my heroine's story an inch forward, showing up and reading someone else's book, showing up and finding a new way to structure my novel. Now when I sit down to write, it doesn't take long for me to get back into the scene and for the sentences to flow for a few pages. But I had to keep turning on the faucet and letting the words drip to get to this point.
For me, the point of showing up for my novel 100 times before New Year's Eve is not to finish a section or write 50,000 words. Those types of goals usually create a bit too much pressure, which for me, typically ends in paralysis and defeat. My goal is simply to show up 100 times and to stay curious about what I did when I showed up and where I will be in my novel by the time I hit the 100th day. I can guarantee that I will be further along than I am today, and really, that's all that matters.
The universe has granted us a hard reset on 2017 in the form of the new moon and solar eclipse happening on the same day. What do you want to show up for? What do you want to create during your 100 days?