I’ve been trying to make new habits – exercise, diet change, social media consistency, writing consistency, and art making are all on my list of things I want to be more habitual. There are so many ways to increase your chance of success when trying to make new habits. I’m always on the lookout for ways to trick my mind and structures to set up so that I have less chance of finding a good reason to give up. My own progress is good (the diet change is quite successful and I’ve recently lost the 10 lbs I gained while book-writing) and some of the social media stuff is good (but could be better) but exercise and writing, while once great, need a swift kick in the pants. Sadly, art-making languishes.
Stacy Bass’s personal art making challenge is inspiring me and making me wonder if perhaps a 365 challenge – or even a 30 day challenge might be a good structure to get me going. Have you ever done a daily challenge? How did it work for you?
Here is Stacy’s story of her own 365 challenge – which happens to include flowers – the obvious choice when you are a brilliant landscape photographer…
It’s no secret that photographers love visual and image-driven challenges but I admit, I was a bit reluctant to take on a 365 day commitment. Years ago, I had a the actually crazy/stupid idea that for one year, I would take and share an image at noon each day— wherever I happened to be, whatever I happened to be doing. At noon. By day 2, I realized that I would likely be unhappy with too many of the images and the idea of rerouting my life to be somewhere I’d actually want to make a photograph seemed ridiculous and overwhelming. So, I let it go.
This time around, I was inspired by a friend and fellow photographer named Kerry Long who was working on a 365 project made up of images of her daughter. Her images are outstanding, stunning and wonderfully composed portraits and they inspired me to think about the challenge a new way. Since I was sure that my kids (too much older than Kerry’s!) were not going to be nearly as cooperative and open to the idea and since portraits are not my go-to subject of choice anyway, I started to think about what subject matter would keep me interested and motivated every single day for a year. And then, it became obvious: FLOWERS.
While I shoot flowers on a fairly regular basis, in the context of garden shoots for magazines and private clients, I knew that I would would nonetheless have to make a focused and concerted effort to find, take, share an image each day. Last summer, while vacationing on Nantucket with my family, it all came together in my mind and….I began.
It was easy to get into the groove in Nantucket when there was so much content at my fingertips and even when I got home, I looked forward to the daily challenge— not to mention the very positive reaction I received. From the tens of thousands of people who engaged in the project on social media over the year (btw, HYDRANGEAS are always the crowd favorite “like” wise) as well as out in the “real” world where people (still) stop me to say how they look forward to the flower of the day— a daily dose of beauty and positivity and appreciation—it has been fun and really gratifying. There were days, for sure, that it was harder than others to get it done, and once about 2 months in where I wondered if I stopped, would anyone notice or care- but that was short-lived and I continued, undaunted.
It’s quite an amazing thing to do anything creative consistently for 365 days and I have to say, I really LOVED doing it. And I also love that I did it. And it’s done. It feels like a great accomplishment and it feels good to have the closure of completing something with a beginning, middle and end.
You can see more of Stacy’s photography in her most recent book, Gardens at First Light. Also – she is thinking about making some of these available as prints so that you can buy a favorite day or a meaningful day as a gift. If you’d like more information about that you can email Stacy directly or follow along on her website.