365 Projects

My friend, Noah Scalin, introduced me to the idea of a "365 Project." The idea is to commit to doing "something" creative every day for a year. Noah had an amazing project, Skull-A-Day, that ended up taking his life in unexpected directions. As a creative type looking to always improve my sense of discipline to my, well, discipline, this was very attractive. As a full-time puppeteer, puppet-builder, wife, mom, homeschooling parent, family chef, and so many other things, it seemed crazy.

The idea was like a splinter I couldn't get to -- I just kept thinking about it, picking at it, trying to find a way to extract it. I thought about all the possible things I could do for a year...I had so many ideas! But the one I kept coming back to was to make a puppet every day, because that's my medium. That's what I do. But every day?

There's no way I could make one of my puppets every day! They took too long to make. They were too complex, too...

Too many excuses.

What made me realize that not only did I need to do a 365, but I needed to do the project that scared me the most was a story from the book Art & Fear as shared on LifeClever

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot”albeit a perfect one”to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work”and learning from their mistakes”the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Wow. That really got me thinking.

I have strong perfectionist tendencies. I worry that this perfectionism gets in my way of really reaching new levels with my work. I don't need to make perfect and amazing puppets every day -- surely I could just make a puppet every day...like I could when I was ten. When I was ten, heck, I could make several puppets in one day. (I didn't have an inner critic yet.) So I am doing this 365 project as a way of exercising my creative muscles and shutting up my inner critic. Crazy? Absolutely!