365 Challenge

If you are new to this blog, you may be wondering, “What is this ‘365 Challenge’ she keeps talking about?”  Simply put, our 365 Challenge is a commitment to do something creative every day for one year – all  365 days.  It could be painting, writing, scrapbooking, photography…the list is endless, but the end result is the same – creating something every day.

I’ve wanted to do a 365 project for quite some time.  But like a lot of you, I am terrified of the actual commitment.  After all, the prospect of doing something (anything) every single day for a whole year is quite daunting, let alone doing something creative.  I’ve conquered Lain Ehman’s Layout-A-Day three times now, and it was a real challenge trying to keep up.  That was for just one month!  I even got inspired to start a smash book that I have been putting together in an outdated date book, but it’s not an every-day kind of commitment and I often go weeks without touching it at all.  All the same, I still wanted to do a 365 project, and I had a good idea where I wanted to start.

Several years ago, a crafty friend told me about a project she was working on.  She was inspired by a 52-week art journal challenge done by Emily Falconbridge on her Life is Art blog.  Emily used 52 questions as inspiration to create an art journal on a deck of cards.  This project in itself is a great idea, but my friend, Kerry, took it one step further.  She had the idea of combining the 52 questions with a power word .

The idea of a power word is not a new one.  My son’s high school orchestra used power words in a unity circle before every concert.  Each student would share his or her word and the idea was that in unity, all these powerful words come together to make a whole, cohesive orchestra. 

Blogger Christine Kane uses power words in a different way.  She contends that your power words give you intent.  Each year, instead of making New Years resolutions, she does a lot of soul searching and comes up with her Word of the Year.  The word becomes her touchstone to stay focused on what’s important and to remind her of her goals.

So how do you combine a power word with 52 questions?  Easy, just let the power word be your guide to answering the questions each day.  Your answer to the question is the inspiration for the creative work.  It’s really that simple.  Your word could simply be the answer, or for more of a spiritual challenge, you could answer the question and then journal whether or not (or how) that answer fits in with your power word. 

For instance, if my focus for 2013 was going to be Home and my question for the day was “What song do you have on repeat right now?”  What if the answer to my question was Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again?”  Obviously, that song is not about home.  Or maybe it is.  Maybe you feel most at home when you’re on the road.  Maybe you love being on the road, and are trying to balance travel with your duties at home.  Maybe you don’t like going anywhere at all.  Or maybe the song reminds you of the home you grew up in.  Either way, you’ve tied your power word to your question for the day.

To make this a little more fun, and to up the ante on the challenge, we’ve created a Flickr group for our 365 Challenge.  Participants are encouraged (not required) to post their creative works to the group pool for the rest of us to see.  We’ve had some spotty participation, and that’s okay, too.  Just remember there are no rules to this project, you can jump in or out at any time and really just do whatever you want to do.  This whole thing is an exercise in creativity, so if you’ve figured out some creative way to interpret our non-existant rules, then more power to you!

So…are you intrigued by the concept, but still afraid to commit? Tell me, just what are you afraid of?  What are the dire consequences of failing to stick with a big project?  I’m here to tell you, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.  Go on!  Jump right in!  The water’s fine and there are no sharks in this pool!  No one cares if you start and never finish.  No one cares if you get behind and have to catch up.  No one cares if you decide to do a 52-week project instead of 365 days.  Just get started!   To make it easy for you, we have created a list of 365 topics to help you get started, but you don’t have to use those prompts at all, they’re just a tool to get the creative juices flowing.

Does it sound too complicated?
Here are 5 simple steps for you to start your own 365 Project
  1. Pick a project:  Whether it’s a layout a day, Project Life, an art journal, a painting, a photo, or creative writing – whatever you decide to do is just fine.  Find what speaks to you and commit to doing something every day. (See the list below for some ideas)
  2. Pick a power word:  This step is definitely optional, but it is often a great tool to add to a daily prompt.  For more information about picking a power word, read this blog by Christine Kane:  Word of the Year
  3. Pick a place to start:  You can either start at the beginning (see the list of prompts below), or you can start with today.  The complete list of prompts is available for download here.  Use one of the prompts we’ve provided, or come up with your own.
  4. Create something:  Use the prompt or don’t use the prompt, it’s okay either way.  You can scrapbook, make cards, create an art journal, make a smash book, quilt, crochet, paint, write essays…do whatever you want to do.  The point is that you are creating something.  Do you have to create a new something every day?  Absolutely not.  If you are working on a painting and you work on it every day, then that’s okay, too.
  5. Share it:  When your project is done, upload a picture to our project gallery.  Working on a long-term project?  Share an occasional picture of your progress and tell us about it!  We love to hear how we’ve inspired you!  The discussion board is open to anyone who wants to post.  The address for the group is: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cn365/ After you’ve joined the group, you will upload your photos to your stream.  You can select to add them to the group while you are uploading, or you can come back and add them later.  Another great place to share your work and/or get inspired is the Facebook Art Journalling group.

That’s it!  That’s all there is to it!  Here are some more tips to get you going:

Pick the project that’s right for you!
Six Suggestions for a Year-Long Project

  1. Project Life:  Project Life is a memory-recording system of scrapbooking that uses photo pocket pages and pre-cut/pre-printed products as a starting point.  All you do is add journaling and photos.  This is a great alternative for someone who wants to do a 365 but doesn’t have a lot of time to commit to their project each day.  You can still follow any 365-day, 52-week, or even Layout-a-Day challenges very easily.
  2. Art Journal:  Use an art journal or Smash Book to express the answers to your daily prompts.  You can use the questions or prompt as part of the art, or you can simply let the artwork do all the talking.  The possibilities are endless.
  3. Layout A Day:  Although Lain Ehman’s LOAD is designed to run in one-month increments several times a year, committing to creating a layout every day is a great way to boost your creativity and get a lot of scrapbooking done.  Or, if 365 is too much for you, do it for one month at a time.
  4. Tags:  In her Life is Art blog, Emily Falconbridge creates her art and poses the question on one side of the tag, and then answers it on the other.  A large ring could hold all the tags together.
  5. A Deck of Cards:  This method lends itself best to a 52-week challenge, but you could still use it for a full year by creating multiple decks.
  6. A Gratitude Journal:  I just saw this video and knew I had to add it to my list of 365 projects.  Check out Hailey Bartholomew's 365 Grateful Project.  

I started my 365 project in January 2013, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start today!  I hope you’ll consider joining me in this exploration!  I would love to see what you come up with!

The following list is also available in an Excel Spreadsheet by clicking here:  http://www.craftyneighbor.com/downloads/2013_365List.xls.

Current list of published prompts:
  1. Why
  2. My motto is…
  3. Sparks my creativity
  4. Too much of a good thing
  5. What makes me glow…
  6. A character I despise
  7. Squares
  8. Good
  9. Define happy
  10. I would like to ________ again
  11. My clothes
  12. Something worth dying for…
  13. What character from your favorite TV show can you most relate to?
  14. What do I wish for this year to bring?
  15. What keeps me awake at night…
  16. Angels…
  17. A piece of cake
  18. What 3 words would someone use to describe me?
  19. What was the last thing that made me cry?
  20. Someone I look up to…
  21. Introvert/Extrovert
  22. Worry
  23. I recommend
  24. Negative anagram of your name (faults and vices)
  25. Define grown up
  26. Rules are meant to be broken
  27. I will
  28. By the numbers
  29. I would like to return to
  30. Someone once told me
  31. What gives me hope?
  32. I would like to be remembered for
  33. Family
  34. If I were an animal, I would be….
  35. Use a newspaper article or current event from tv as your prompt
  36. The color yellow
  37. Fate
  38. My parents
  39. My favorite holiday
  40. Daily…
  41. Chores
  42. An arm and a leg
  43. Do I dare?
  44. A promise never kept
  45. Winter means….
  46. Time for...
  47. What the world needs now…
  48. A photo of me laughing
  49. Luck
  50. Yearly….
  51. Am I afraid of change?
  52. Which direction am I going?
  53. Math
  54. Never underestimate the power of…
  55. Daydream…
  56. Wealthy
  57. My nickname
  58. The greatest gift
  59. Salad days
  60. Rejuvenation
  61. The kitchen
  62. Adventure
  63. If I had a magic carpet…
  64. Someone special
  65. Dry
  66. Cold
  67. Practice
  68. Early bird or worm?
  69. Never again…
  70. I wonder….
  71. My plan is…
  72. Best gift I ever gave
  73. Anagram your name
  74. People say I look like
  75. Two sides to every coin
  76. Bully
  77. In 1 hour…
  78. If I died today, it would be because…
  79. Watch tv for a commercial and use that as your prompt
  80. My hero
  81. Define perfection
  82. I could teach…
  83. My own personal prison
  84. If I could change the world
  85. Nurture
  86. Something I am proud of
  87. Look through a magazine, clip a picture, and use it as the prompt
  88. Tradition
  89. Pearls of wisdom
  90. Mothers
  91. Daughters
  92. My morning routine…
  93. My deepest regret….
  94. What makes me me?
  95. If I could only teach you one thing
  96. If my pet could talk, it would say…
  97. Safe
  98. Favorite Season of the Year
  99. A bad influence on me
  100. Self-destructive
  101. Sisters
  102. The color brown
  103. Mumbo Jumbo
  104. How does your garden grow?
  105. When I was young, I wanted to be…
  106. The last thing that made me laugh out loud
  107. The most terrifying moment of my life was….
  108. Expectations
  109. Map
  110. Distress
  111. What am I taking for granted?
  112. It is better to give than to receive
  113. Hive of activity
  114. Grateful for
  115. I do
  116. Courage 
  117. Birds
  118. Let the journey begin
  119. 10 years ago I was
  120. Peace
  121. Some things we have in common are…
  122. Search
  123. Waste not, want not
  124. I deserve
  125. Quiet
  126. Addiction
  127. Once in a lifetime…
  128. The color green
  129. What I have done over and over this week?
  130. You're not the boss of me
  131. Weekly…
  132. The most disappointed I've ever been
  133. Take a walk on the wild side
  134. I believe
  135. The 5 greatest reasons I chose you
  136. So glad I don't…
  137. I can
  138. The color orange
  139. Black and white
  140. Birthplace
  141. Count them (blessings)
  142. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
  143. Left me bug-eyed
  144. I am…
  145. Bite your tongue
  146. My perfect day
  147. If I were a Beetles song I would be…
  148. I am waitng for…
  149. A dime a dozen
  150. The last food I ate was…
  151. Friends
  152. What is the truth?
  153. Fathers
  154. Art is….
  155. What is the worst thing parents can do to their children?
  156. Something I'm passionate about is….
  157. Bliss
  158. Draw something
  159. Use journaling to draw a picture
  160. Something I could live without….
  161. Try a new technique that you learned from YouTube
  162. Time flies
  163. Rules
  164. Loud
  165. Revenge
  166. On the job…
  167. The song I just can't stop listening to is…
  168. I have faith in…
  169. I need to thank…
  170. It was my fault…
  171. When I look into my eyes I see….
  172. Inspiration found
  173. Cousins
  174. Picture perfect…
  175. Make a monochromatic design
  176. Work
  177. Listen
  178. When I think back to my childhood, the moment that  first comes to mind is…
  179. Scary
  180. Over the top
  181. How do I feel today?
  182. Magazine collage
  183. Nature
  184. What was my worst or best hairstyle experience to date?
  185. Favorite day of the week
  186. A magical thing happened to me in the last year…
  187. Life is beautiful
  188. Things I've learned from my enemies
  189. Award acceptance speech
  190. Evil
  191. A gift I wanted but never received
  192. Forgive
  193. What is my super-power?
  194. I hunger for…
  195. The greatest gift I have given myself
  196. When I look in the mirror, I see…
  197. Hot
  198. Crazy
  199. The hardest thing I ever did
  200. If money were no object, I would buy
  201. Summer means….
  202. The color red
  203. My biggest fear
  204. My version of hell
  205. Home
  206. Strife…
  207. A recurring dream…
  208. The color purple
  209. Smells like.... (or The Smell of...)
  210. I am crossing my fingers for...
  211. If I had a free day with no restricitons, I would…
  212. Something I have always wanted but can never have
  213. Circles
  214. Pieces of me
  215. I need
  216. My latest obsession is….
  217. What I was doing this time last year…
  218. Made me think of you
  219. Guilty pleasure
  220. Right now
  221. On your to-do list this week…
  222. Get someone else to contribute to today's project
  223. I have
  224. Things I've learned from my friends
  225. On a rainy day…
  226. It never rains but it pours
  227. I would like to strengthen
  228. Yesterday, I
  229. Define beauty
  230. Use your computer to add a digital element to your project
  231. You are what you eat
  232. Knowing the difference…
  233. Define creative
  234. Hobbies
  235. Remember when
  236. The perfect age
  237. Cause and effect
  238. Clean
  239. Priorities
  240. Grounded
  241. Utilize
  242. My happy place
  243. My redeeming qualities
  244. I will never forget…
  245. Why did I do that?
  246. Jealous of…
  247. In-laws
  248. Solitude
  249. Misery
  250. Make 3 wishes…
  251. Favorite time of day
  252. What makes me giddy…
  253. My closet
  254. World's Greatest…
  255. Use some ephemera from your week
  256. Imagine your inner critic as a monster.  Draw, paint, etc. him
  257. Before bed, I…
  258. Soulmate
  259. Monthly…
  260. My 10 greatest sorrows
  261. Responsibility
  262. Who (or what) do I miss?
  263. 10 years from now, I think I will be
  264. Anger
  265. Something I wish people didn’t know/notice/remember about me
  266. My 10 greatest joys
  267. My lucky number
  268. First impressions
  269. Funny ha ha
  270. How can I be kinder to myself?
  271. Everything happens for a reason
  272. Five things I want in a relationship
  273. A symbol I love
  274. In 10 minutes…
  275. I want
  276. Note to self
  277. People say I act just like…
  278. God Bless….
  279. Hindsight is 20/20
  280. Surprise
  281. Exercise
  282. My biggest pet peeve…
  283. Something I don't understand but wish I did
  284. On my mind today…
  285. Sons
  286. What I would like to learn is…
  287. I am the master of…
  288. Junk mail
  289. Use a food label as inspiration
  290. Celebrate
  291. When I was young, I would spend hours…
  292. Rock-n-Roll
  293. In the dark
  294. 5 movies that inspire me creatively
  295. Something I hope I don't live to see
  296. When pigs fly
  297. Ghosts
  298. My biggest challenge today is…
  299. Attitude is everything…
  300. I belong to
  301. Which Disney character are you and why?
  302. The most important lesson I have learned
  303. Healthy
  304. Something I discovered recently…
  305. My greatest wish for you would be…
  306. I want a hug from…
  307. The title of my life story would be
  308. The color blue
  309. Love, love, love
  310. Wicked
  311. Something I wish my parents had taught me
  312. Hate
  313. The one event in my life that has changed me the most
  314. What brings me joy?
  315. Something worth living for…
  316. Shoes
  317. When I have to make a tough decision, I…
  318. Doodle a full page
  319. Brothers
  320. Now, I know better than to…
  321. Good manners I wish everyone knew
  322. It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings
  323. Something I lost or gave away that can never be replaced…
  324. The color pink
  325. The most surprised I've ever been
  326. What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
  327. In 20 minutes…
  328. Something I rely on…
  329. My birthday
  330. Mimic someone else's design but make it your own
  331. Guilt
  332. Strength
  333. A joke
  334. The most fun I've ever had….
  335. My greatest limitation is
  336. Goal of the week
  337. In a fire, I would save my…
  338. Over-used word
  339. It's best to be on the safe side
  340. On my walls, I would write….
  341. If I could do it all again, what would I change?
  342. Crush
  343. Wise
  344. Sweetest thing anyone has done for me…
  345. I like to watch you when…
  346. What do I love most about whereI live?
  347. Wet
  348. No regrets
  349. Change
  350. Two peas in a pod
  351. My bedroom
  352. The more, the merrier
  353. Tomorrow I will
  354. When no one is looking….
  355. Something I wish I knew more about….
  356. What is powerful to me…
  357. The last brave thing I did
  358. A photo that means something to me
  359. The last good book I read
  360. The meaning of life is
  361. I regret…
  362. Ideas
  363. A leap of faith
  364. Like a moth to a flame
  365. Self-realization

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