Bonus: Focus on 365

by Elizabeth on January 23, 2012

Every new thing you do requires a bit of dedication.

We know this.  It’s not new information, that.   Nor is the fact that in order to get good at something, it’s a pretty good idea to practice it every single day — at least for a while, while you’re getting the hang of all the new things.

In addition, when you do something every day, you’re kind of forced to pay close attention.  You get to ratchet down the external noise and really dig deep into one thing for a while.  You get to tune out the world and just be with the flow of the thing.

Enter Project 365.

Most people who know about Project 365 think of it as being related to the whole photo-a-day phenomenon that buzzed around the scrapbooking and creativity blogs a few years back.  People were encouraged to take a photo a day, rain or shine, every single day for a year.  It could be a photo of yourself, a photo of your life, a photo of your dog — whatever you wanted it to be.  There’s even an app or two for that, for you iphoners.

(Just a note for anyone who’s been around the blogosphere for longer than there have been blogs — it’s really reminiscent of the online journaler Ginkgo’s “Self Portrait a Day” project she used to do.  Every time I see someone doing self-portraits for this, I think of her.  RIP, Eve.)

What people don’t always know, though, is that the 365 Project really got started with something altogether different.

Noah Scalin, way back in the mid-2000′s (ancient history, I know), created an award-winning project called, simply, “A Skull A Day”.  It was revolutionary at the time — every day for an entire year, Noah created some kind of skull-themed artwork.  365 days later, he’d created not just a huge collection of skull art, but also a phenomenon.

All over the web, people started their own versions of the Skull-A-Day.  Everything from robots, to clouds, to monsters….to taking a daily photo.

Noah went on to author a book on the 365 Project for people looking to document their own collections/projects, called 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. It outlines 52 weeks of creative promptings and ideas to keep your project going, and space to record all the awesome things you’re doing with your own project.

From there, the creativity of people just went all nutbars insane.

(As one would probably expect.)

There are projects on doing a mandala a day, sometimes out of completely unexpected materials.

Yvonne’s doing a zentangle drawing every day for a year.  (And they’re all profoundly awesome so far, too.)

Gertie carved a hand-carved stamp every day for a  year and just recently finished up with her last ones.  Every. single. day. for a year.

It’s not just visual arts/projects either.

The 365 Music Project aims to highlight indie artists and gain more exposure for them, one tweeted song at a time.

Running Three 65 is one man’s project of total commitment to running three miles every day for a year, come hell or high water.  Or knee pain, as the case may be.

And if you only look at one non-visual arts 365 Project today, make it this one:

Richard Radstone’s year-long daily project is about strangers.  Every day, he talks to one.  Takes their picture.  Gets their story.  And blogs it, in a narrative style that highlights just how interesting every person can be, no matter who they are.  There’s a depth to him, and I keep wondering, going through all of this, how he gets folks to engage with him and open up like this.  The stories are fascinating, and the whole project really illustrates just how much we miss out on, going about our daily lives with our blinders on — there’s a whole world of stories in everyone you meet, even the ones that look the most normal.

It’s a testament to the idea that if you’re looking, everything, and everyone is worthy of attention.

So what can YOU focus on for 365 consecutive days?

How can you use the format of a daily practice, recorded for the world to see, to help you focus on what really matters?  365 Days of Gratitude?  365 Health?  365 Days of Creatively Saying I Love You?  Maybe 365 Letters, and if you run out of friends, send notes of encouragement to random strangers?  (Or even 365 Pins — doing one thing you’ve pinned or inspired by what you’ve pinned on Pinterest?)

The possibilities are endless.

Are you planning a 365 project?  Did all of this spark some ideas?  Come talk about daily projects on the forums so we can be inspired by your awesome project, too.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jurema June 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Thanks for the mention of our blog. Currently Skull-A-Day has 3 co-editors in aoiitddn to Noah that help post those submitted skulls. We all also did year long weekly skulls during our 1st years as co-editors. More information about the team is included on that Wikipedia page you linked to and at the top of the blog.


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