Tag Archives: 365-day project

Reading 365 short stories

Last month was so hectic, ALL of my 365 projects ambitions fell off track. I am now beginning the process of slowly picking each one up, dusting them off and seeing what adjustments I can make to the project so it will work for me (instead of constantly filling me with guilt and more guilt – I’m not good with this whole guilt thing.)

First up is the Short Story a Day project. In the month that I did it, I realized two things:

  1. It’s not that easy to read a short story a day. I like to pick my short stories randomly, from my short story box, so I never know what I’m going to get. Some days it’s a story that’s short in length, other days the story is closer to a novella. So I never know how much time I’ll need, which kind of adds to the stress when it’s midnight and I’m thinking, “Shoot! Forgot about today’s short story!”
  2. Short stories are addictive. When I do happen to have a nice chunk of time and I sit down to read one, I often want to read another. But words can have strange control over me. Knowing I was doing a “short story a day” project, I felt reluctant to dive into another one. Because, you know, that would be two, or even three short stories a day. (As you can see, I am easily controllable).

Photo 2014-12-17, 4 10 31 PMThe Short Story Box, for Totally Randomized Reading Fun

As I pondered the situation, and the mess this 365 day project had become, the solution came to me. Rename the project! So now, it’s my 365 Short Stories in 2015 project!

I love how easy and painless that was. And since I just recently finished Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, it turns out I am right back on track now! I have now read 58 short stories so far this year.

Now I can peel away some of my 365 day project guilt. Two more to go …

{2015 Goals} Writing and creativity goals

It’s shaping up to be a very goal-oriented year for me. I’m pretty sure I’m trying to make up for how unmotivated and unproductive I felt during 2014! The one thing that’s saving me from feeling overwhelmed by all these things I want to accomplish this year is remembering that most of my goals are things I find fun. Not all of them (exercise comes to mind), but most of them. And that really makes a difference!

Articulating my goals has been helpful, too, especially in terms of keeping me accountable. Yesterday was the first day of the new year, and I did everything I said I’d do! (This is huge for me, by the way – discipline and I are not usually the best of friends, except when it comes to work deadlines.)

I’ve already discussed my bookish/reading goals for 2015. Here are my writing and creativity goals for the new year:

1. Write 1,500 words every day.

Since I’m using SMART goals this year (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely), I decided on a specific number of words, instead of just saying “I’m going to write every day”. At first I picked 2,000 words, but today, as I was sitting down to Scrivener and writing, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to make 2,000 words today” so I went to the word count spreadsheet I’m using and changed my daily goal to 1,500.

Mind you, after all that, I ended up writing 2,220 words today. But still, I want this goal to be doable but not stressful, right? Anyway, even at 1,500 words a day, I’d still end up with 547,500 words at the end of the year, which would be nice.

2. Be #CreativeEveryDay

I’ve signed up for the Creative Every Day challenge in previous years – and failed spectacularly (meaning, I’d sign up and then promptly and conveniently “forget” I’d signed up). This year, though, I’m prepared.  I’ve got a stack of books to go to if I need an idea plus a number of inspirational artsy sites bookmarked. And for additional motivation I’m in a Facebook group with a few other book bloggers who are interested in art journaling.

I’ve also set up a Tumblr blog to which I’ll upload a daily photo (I’ll do the same with Instagram, but I’ll be a day behind on there, I think). The Tumblr blog is pretty sparse right now – I haven’t even selected a template! But I figured it was more important to be accountable than it was to have a pretty looking Tumblr, especially since I know myself well enough to know if I made a “pretty little Tumblr” my priority, I wouldn’t have things ready until mid-way through the year!

3. My 365 Day Project

I’ll post more about my 365 day project in a few days, but I’ve decided to do a writing prompt a day. This is my first 365 day project, so I’m a little nervous. But the challenge I’ve set up for myself is small and fun, so hopefully I’ll have some success with it.

4. Daily Brainstorming in My Book of Lists

I haven’t started this yet, but I’ll be adding it to my daily routine once I have everything else on track. The plan is to begin a “Book of Lists” as an idea resource. I decided I wanted to give this a try back in the fall after talking with Suey about the Laini Taylor presentation and writing workshop she attended. Suey got me all excited about starting a book of lists to generate ideas, and then I googled around and found a post Laini Taylor wrote on her Not for Robots site about ideas and brainstorming and got even more excited (she also has a great post on writing a novel here). And I’ve wanted to do this ever since. Just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

One of my plans is to use my brainstorming time to “fill the well” in my Book of Lists. I have stacks and stacks of nonfiction books about all sorts of strange and interesting things, very few of which I’ve actually read. Despite this, I keep accumulating them (but usually when they’re at a discount, thank goodness).

Photo 2015-01-02, 4 56 29 PM

So now’s my chance to put them to good use. I’m going to start collecting tidbits of interesting information from these books in my Book of Lists.

Another plan is to do “100s lists”, where you just sit down and brainstorm a hundred things. I’m thinking it might work well when plotting a story or developing a character, and also for worldbuilding. I’m not much of an outliner, so any way I can get more information down before I start writing will probably be helpful.

5. A Personal Photo a Day

I’d also like to begin documenting my life in photos, mainly because I have this tendency to live a hermit’s life and having to take an interesting photo every day should help me change that. I have a lovely DSLR camera that I still need to learn to use, but for now I’m quite content to use my iPhone. I’ve never been very good about taking daily photos, but that will, hopefully, change this year. Instagram is definitely a good motivator!

So these are my writing and creativity goals for the new year. What about you? Did you set any creative nonbookish goals for 2015?

{2015 Goals} Complete a 365-Day Project

I’d really like to complete a 365-day project in the new year and so, as usual, I’ve been diving into Google and searching a little obsessively for 365-day project ideas.

I actually scrolled through all the blog posts at the Make Something 365 & Unstuck blog looking for ideas. Noah Scalin is the author of 365: A Daily Creativity Journal, which contains prompts for doing a 365-day project. I don’t have this book, but I do have his other book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work & in Your Studio (which I haven’t read yet, but it looks good).

365 Creativity Journal

 

The project ideas he features are interesting, but almost all of them are art or photography-related, and I’d like my 365-day project to be writing-related. I’ll probably be signing up for the 2015 Creative Every Day challenge, which is art-related, but my main focus for the year will be on my 365 day project.

I also read through most of the posts at Year of Creative Habits, where artist Crystal Moody posted daily drawings she made during her year of creative habits.

(I did mention I’ve been a little obsessive about this, right?)

I’m almost sure what my project will be – I just need to do the prep work to make sure I’m properly prepared for the long haul and don’t do a major fail (or at least, not immediately, like around January 15 or something!).

I don’t know exactly why I want to do a 365-day project, other than the whole commitment and intention thing I wrote about the other day. And I do like the idea of ending up with a body of work I wouldn’t have otherwise. And I guess, like my 365 days of blogging, I’m kind of testing myself, and my ability to be disciplined and stay committed.

But most of all, I’ve been thinking how much fun it will be!

Have you done a 365-day project in previous years? Are you planning on doing one this year?