365: A Daily Creativity Journal – New & Expanded!

 I'm pleased to announce that the brand new edition of my book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal is now available! 

This book is your guide to making your own daily yearlong creativity projects, inspired by the success I had with my own Skull-A-Day project. This new & expanded edition features an additional month of prompts to keep you going after you finish your own yearlong project and new resources & interviews to keep you inspired!

Ask for it at your local independent bookstore! Don't know where one is? IndieBound can help you out.

Of course it's available at your favorite online book retailer as well, including Amazon.com,
Barnes & Noble & Quarto.

If you'd like for me to do a book signing/talk/workshop in your town drop me a line!






Eyes on A Leap Year / Ojos en Año Bisiesto

Annel ZúñigaTablada in Washington State is creating Eyes on a leap year / Ojos en año bisiesto...


Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to start this project because I liked the idea of choosing something I liked – an obsession you said in the back of your book – and make something new everyday. 

I've always liked making things and being creative but have never stayed with one subject for a while and I'm finding that interesting and challenging. Of course I have quite a few more months to go but I can't believe ideas keep coming to me at different times for the daily creations. Most of the time is late at night when I get to do things but the ideas come any time, in the middle of daily routine. 



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I'm definitely enjoying the process. I think having a subject only as a rule and 365 +1 opportunities gives me lots of room to make, explore, play, and have fun while also expressing myself and learning more about eyes, the creative process, and the mediums I use. Oh and the blogging thing is new for me too.

See all of Annel's eyes HERE.  



Rosanne's 365 Days of Creativity

Rosanne Hansen in Darwin, Minnesota is making 365 Days of Creativity...

 

Why did you decide to do this project?
When shopping After-Christmas Sales at the mall, I saw the book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal on display at a used bookstore. The title intrigued me, so I went in and flipped through it. I remember thinking “This is pretty cool! I should do this.” So, I bought the book and I began my journey on January 1st, 2016 as my New Year’s Resolution to make more art.

I am an art teacher and I found myself constantly making art as lesson examples, but I rarely making my own art. I decided this would be a great way to get back to creating art. I began without any specific theme, but I seem to be making a lot of flowers.

Before starting, I read the tip to share your projects. I made a photo album on my Facebook page so I could share my projects with family and friends. I am glad I did, because some days it is hard to be motivated to make something. Then, I remember all of the likes and comments, both online and person, that I have received and I find the strength to keep going. I even had someone text me at 11:30 one night asking where was my daily project. I was just finishing it and getting ready to post.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  Since beginning this yearlong journey, I’ve found myself exploring many new materials and processes. Some projects, such as book folding (Day 2) and working with polymer clay (Days 20 and 76), I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never found the time to do it. While other projects, such as knitting with plarn (plastic yarn) (Day 57), I would have never thought to explore.

I’ve found that my creativity inspires others as well. For example, I was working on my noodle collage (Day 49) at an art club that I lead after school once a week. My elementary age students thought it was so cool that they begged to join in on the fun. So after altering the lesson for that day so that they could make a mini collages, I bought more noodles so that they would make larger collages the next week.

See all of Rosanne's creations HERE

 

 

 

A-Painting-A-Day

Sarah Hand in Richmond, VA is making A-Painting-A-Day...



Why did you decide to do this project?  I get in a funk – creatively and generally – in January. This year seemed particularly funk-y, and I decided to jumpstart February with a project that had forward momentum and color! I chose a painting-a-day because I want to improve my painting skills, expand my subject matter, get looser, and build my portfolio. I was inspired by a few folks I follow on Instagram who also do paintings every day. And I found the idea of making a painting every day to be just the slightest bit scary (could I do it?!!!)... That feeling of challenge pushed me to do it!


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've just entered the second month of my challenge and I have to say that it is one of the best parts of my day. I look forward to it - even if I've put it off until just before midnight! Sitting down and getting lost in a painting - it's everything! My mood is better - my funk has lifted. And the more I create, the more ideas I've been having and the better and faster my making gets. Posting my art on social media - specifically, Instagram - has been fun. The support is amazing. And it's cool to see which paintings people respond to - often, they aren't my personal favorites. That pushes me to look more closely at my work and figure out what people are connecting with. Mostly, though, this project is about play, and I definitely feel happier and happier with every painting I make.

See all of Sarah's daily paintings HERE.  




One Year of Collaging

Gayle Montgomery in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico is making One Year of Collaging...



Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do this project to keep the creative juices flowing even on days that I am blocked or have too much going on to do a larger piece.  This year began with difficulties and I did not have much energy to engage in larger and more detailed work so I used a 6 x 8 book and started to make the small collages.  I limit my time to approximately 15 minutes so it is spontaneous and intuitive...some are wonderful and others not so but I am creating just the same.


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? The project gives me new insight into my world and a new awareness of my being.  One begins to view their surrounding quite differently when they set a conscious goal to create something big or small every day.  Years ago I was in a debilitating work environment with little time to create and decided to do something similar by writing a haiku every day for a year.  At the end of the year I made a handmade book with 52 envelopes where I inserted all the haikus I had written for that week which I printed on vellum. 

I have always felt that a creative person is a happier person and with my own blog I try to inspire others to 'take up arms' and find an outlet for creativity however large or small.

See Gayle's collages HERE







Church-a-Day

Ben Heimsath in Austin, Texas is sharing daily in his Church-a-Day project. 




He explains...  

They could be anywhere! Images or references to churches, worship places, temples, or sacred objects of all kinds are much more common than we think. So inevitably we take them for granted.

Maybe it’s a place that we see so often we no longer think of its connection to faith or spirituality. Maybe it’s a common object or image that we never associate with a faith or a spiritual environment. It could be a place, a building, a rendering, or a media image. These spiritual or faith connected visuals could be almost anywhere. My goal is to focus on one place, image, or reference to a church, temple, or spiritual object every day for 365 days.

I use the label ChurchaDay with some hesitation. In our Western culture, most of us understand and associate with a Christian heritage. However, for Americans, in both historic and modern times, the number of diverse religions and their influences is truly astounding. So this inquiry is to identify and spotlight elements of all faiths and traditions that far too often are hiding in plain site.






Why did you decide to do this project? This project fell in my lap - almost literally - on December 31. My wife had been waiting all day for a delayed Amazon order. So before we left for a New Year’s gathering in the country, I checked the mailbox one last time. There it was, Noah Scalin’s 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. My wife read out loud as I made our way through traffic. Before too long, she asked me what I would do if I could commit to something creative everyday. “That’s pretty easy,” I found myself saying, “I would share something about churches and holy places.”

I’m an architect who has spent the past 30 years building a practice that specializes in project with churches and faith communities of all kinds. I’m often surprised to realize how much I’ve been able to see and learn in my day-to-day activities that most people never appreciate or experience. This is a chance to share.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? So far, Church-a-Day has been an outpouring. I’ve been thinking about many of these issues for a very long time. There’s something beautiful about committing to a daily deadline. The posts aren’t perfect, the pictures aren’t always architecturally stunning, but these ideas now have a home.

Now that I’m into my second month, I also find I’m forced to take action in a way I hadn’t before. If I drive by an interesting site, I start looking for a place to park so I can take pictures. When I’m online, I’m consciously looking for references to worship or faith places so I can bookmark the site.

Then there’s a few posts of things I don’t think I ever would have noted. My recent post about the Flash Factory in NYC came from a casual conversation during a conference call. My contact recalled his friend had gone out dancing and was impressed with the space that looked like a converted church. It wasn’t, but when I looked into it, the Flash Factory was actually a space made of castoff church pieces and maybe a start of a new trend.

See all of Ben's project HERE.  



Spoon-a-Day follow-up

Sonya Penn spent 2015 making a Spoon-a-Day for the entire year... 



What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? The biggest lesson that I learned is the immense power the daily routine has in our lives. One small thing each day adds up to something quite huge over a year's time. Generally, it took me a little over an hour each day to form, photograph and post my daily spoon. That isn't a ton of time, but the resulting body of work that I see is quite substantial. I believe that even just 15 minutes a day of practicing something that you want to improve upon will give you amazing results over the course of a year.


In what ways did the project change your life? The project made me have a greater focus on just getting in there and making. There is a sign for artists that I have seen from time to time that says "Go to your studio and make stuff." You can't just wait for inspiration. You have to create, do and make to find your inspiration.



Now what? Ha! NOW, I am working on glazing all of these 365 clay spoons! I did glaze a lot of them during the course of the year, but there are still a lot of them to go. I am working to have them ready for a local show in April where people can come see them all as a group and purchase their favorites!

Read Sonya's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Sonya's spoons HERE.  


365 Feathers

Lisa Marie Tsering in Twin Cities, Minnesota is creating 365 Feathers...



Why did you decide to do this project?  I decided to do this project to get back to my creative calling as an artist. I had spent nearly a decade pushing my personal creative desires to the side while I focused my energy on being a mom, wife and graphic designer. I dabbled in art projects on occasion and was happy enough, but the desire to step more fully into my art was something that had been lingering for a number of years and it was just getting harder and harder to ignore. I knew I needed to make a bold move and bring my art to the forefront. Once I made that commitment the idea for this yearlong project unfolded.





Feathers have been scattering my path for a few years now and I am always intrigued, inspired and grateful when I find one. When I made the commitment to pursue my art again I felt this knowing that I was to “follow the feathers” and that is what I have been doing with this project - creating art inspired by my connection to feathers. My big, lofty goal was to create a piece of art every day over the course of a year. I hit the one year mark a few weeks ago and completed 300 pieces of art. I didn’t hit my goal for the year, but considering I hadn’t had a consistent creative practice since college and being a mother of two young, rambunctious boys I think I put in a strong effort and am going to continue on and complete my 365.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? The project has forced me to move through the fear that was preventing me from going forward with my art. I had a lot of fear about whether I was good enough, fear of what people would think, fear of failure, fear of not having anything to say as an artist. The fear and lack of confidence were paralyzing. But, over the course of this project I've noticed my confidence growing. I have more confidence when approaching the blank canvas, more confidence with my mark-making on the page (as well as making mistakes with confidence), more confidence in my ability to create, more confidence in showing my art, and this confidence is spilling over into other areas of my life. Also, I notice that I am a happier person when I am engaged in a consistent creative practice. Every day that I sit down to create my feather inspired art I feel content and in my element. After a creative session, my hands smudged with charcoal, I feel so damn grateful and inspired to pick it back up the next day.

See all of Lisa's feathers on Facebook or by searching for #365Feathers on Instagram.


 

Art-Food-Wine-365 Follow-up

Katerina AKA Plateresca in Madrid, Spain spend every day of 2015 creating her Art-Food-Wine-365 project...




What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? 2015 was a difficult year for me. I finally had to accept the changes I had been trying to ignore for a long time, and that was painful. In those difficult circumstances, I managed to do two things on a daily basis: draw and write. This made me realize these two activities were not just something I did for fun, but rather something that I needed to do constantly. This has influenced my life and work decisions a lot, so, in a way, my own blog became my compass.

The other lesson I’ve learnt from creating this blog is that minor things matter. When I had seemingly absolutely nothing to write about, I could find something beautiful and art-food-wine-related in my own apartment or in my neighbourhood in less than an hour. It made me think a lot about how beautiful my life is, and enjoy it more, even when my worries made it difficult.



In what ways did the project change your life? As much as I tried not to write about myself, my personality was present in every post, and at some point I couldn’t hide it from myself anymore that I was a) making art, b) gaining my main income with it, i. e., that I finally became what I had dreaded so much becoming: an artist. I had spent years shying away from this idea, but when the results of what I did lined up in a series of daily posts, it was impossible to keep ignoring them. The impact of this is huge; and, well, I do hope that the following years will prove that this was a good thing.




Now what?  I hope to be able to keep my drawing daily, but I’d like to be quieter about what I do, showing only the best images, recipes and texts once in a while. And I definitely will do my best to keep enjoying Madrid, and sharing its special atmosphere with my readers. 

Read Katerina's original 365 interview HERE.
See all of Katerina's project HERE

 

Vickie's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Vickie Willis recently completed her 365 Buddhas project, creating a poem every day in 2015! 
 


What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned to relax. To let go. To make "mistakes" and get over it. My project even morphed quite a bit while I was doing it. I started with a lot of random poems and free verse, then I started experimenting with different poetic forms, and then I ended up writing lots of short forms, specifically haikus and tankas, and then enhancing them with color and abstract textures. Posting each day and putting each poem out into the world was a tremendous thing. People saw it, and even if the poem sucked, the world didn't end, and no one threw tomatoes at me. And I had the next day to write another one. I learned consistency and patterns, not just in writing haikus, but in writing in general. Doing something every day changes the stakes somehow. The more full pages you have, the less power the blank page has to paralyze you. To paraphrase Rainbow Rowell, the more words you stack up, the cheaper they become. Shockingly, people would come up and talk to me about my poems, people at my gym, people at my 20th high school reunion, and I had no idea that so many people were actually reading them. People even have asked to use my poems for other projects of their own! That kind of encouragement and support has been invaluable!!




 
In what ways did the project change your life? I ran a half marathon last November and that same month I finished my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Now, these things may not seem terribly related at first. But, as it turns out, running, and running longer distances, is exactly like a 365 project. You have to do a little bit each week, and eventually, you just start to increase your distance. Before I knew it, boom! I ran 13 miles. As I was finishing up my half marathon training, and the year, NaNoWriMo approached. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I've tried for the past two years to do it, and I couldn't get it all done. This year, I did. I think that the habit of writing a poem every day made running every week and writing a NaNo novel so much easier. After having written nearly 300 poems by that point, a novel didn't seem insurmountable anymore. Thirteen miles seemed totally reasonable. I have a PhD in English, so I get setting and achieving goals--that's never been a problem for me. But having a DAILY practice is different. And having a partner, the king of kickassery, Julian Cook, was crucial for me in keeping that daily practice going, in being accountable every single day for creating something and creating the habit of creating. The habit of creating, and of sharing that creativity, is a daily discipline that, much like running, permeates the rest of my life now.





 
Now what? Now I've started another 365–technically 366–project. It's the Leap Year Photo Challenge. My friend (and the wife of my father's cousin), Debbi McNeer, is the brainchild behind this one. She was looking for a good photo challenge for 2016, and ended up asking me if I wanted to write the prompts for one. So I did. After studying many photo challenges, I came up with a list that's more evocative and impressionistic than many of the challenges out there. Our challenge has quotes, foreign words, abstract ideas, photo techniques, parts of speech, you know name it. And October is almost entirely an homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you've never watched, you could still participate (but you should remedy that very sad fact immediately). Since I'm going to be revising my NaNoWriMo this year into something that I could possibly publish, I wanted to do a different medium, and I'm a little photo-happy anyway.

Read Vickie's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Vickie's poems HERE.



Julian's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Julian Cook recently completed his 365 Buddhas project, creating one piece of Buddha themed piece of art for every day in 2015!



What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned a great deal about adding discipline to my artistic life - being on the hook to come up with something every day pushed me to be more organized, more open to new techniques, and to better prioritize my days to make creative work a more important part of my life. Trying to use a different media or style daily exposed me to hundreds of new techniques that I would likely not have ever tried, like needlework and some painting and drawing methods. As my project was centered around depictions of the Buddha, I also ended up studying Buddhist art dating back to the time of the historic Buddha to learn about the diverse symbolism and aesthetic traditions. I learned a great deal about photographing my work for public consumption. And possibly most important, I learned the importance of having connections to other working artists, particularly my partner in crime throughout the year, Vickie Willis, who did daily writing and maintained the website with me.





In what ways did the project change your life? Sharing a piece of art daily pushed me to be less "precious" about my work and to let people in to my creative process in a way I never have before. Surviving sharing a few "duds", and realizing that the pieces I didn't much care for other people often liked a lot, increased my confidence tremendously – and of course coming across the finish line did wonders for my confidence! I can feel that confidence improving my work and pushing me to come up with better ideas with less concern about whether every item will be a "hit" or not.





I also embraced the social media aspect of sharing my work this year, a venue i had previously considered only suitable for birth and wedding announcements, identifying friends on the political fringe and food pictures. Through Facebook and Instagram I was able to connect with not only people i know, but also other artists and art admirers, especially during the month long CreativeSprints sponsored by Noah Scalin. Throughout the year I was pleased to hear about how people reacted to the work, often surprisingly.

Ultimately, 2015 was a difficult year for me personally and professionally at my "day job," and the daily creative work involved in this project was often the high point of the day. I learned that my creative work needs to be a non-negotiable part of my day, and that it pays off, every time.





Now what? I have a few requests to finish, and a few pieces that will likely take longer than a day to make, so the Buddhas certainly aren't done! I plan to switch focus to some longer term pieces, I am working on a "religious weaponry" series that I have high hopes for, along with rededicating myself to music making. And I'm finding myself awaiting the next CreativeSprint already

Read Julian's original 365 interview HERE

And see all of Julian's Buddhas HERE.






At Home with the Super Neumanns

Danny Neumann in Phoenix, Arizona is in the midst of the yearlong photography project: At Home with the Super Neumanns...



Why did you decide to do this project?  I'm an adult who refuses to quit playing with toys. My action figure collecting hobby eventually spawned a sub-hobby: photographing my figures doing everyday things. Its a creative outlet I find very rewarding and I was looking for a way to keep more consistent.


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? As I write this I am three months in. One one hand, this is an accomplishment in itself. On the other, it really only represents a good start! I have had to let go the concerns about how much the project is costing. It turns out miniature dollhouse type accessories are not cheap! Although the project is quite time consuming, it has been a fun experience for my whole family. We often talk and laugh about ideas for future shots. And I love hearing my six year old stepson crack up when I show him a new photo.


I often find when setting up my shots that I get close to recapturing the very unique-to-childhood creative mindspace. That elusive experience where you are transported out of reality and into the world being occupied by the toys themselves. I didn't think adults could re-achieve that imaginative world but I have been drifting in and out of it the more time I spend in the Super Neumann's environment.

See all of Danny's photos HERE.