It’s not the first, nor will it likely be the last post written on the subject of 365 projects. I’m one of those who kind of just keeps going. I’ve been shooting daily for a while now, and will be finishing up my fifth 365 project at the end of the week. How have I kept going? For me, these are a few things that have helped.
Give yourself some grace. Allow yourself to play by your own rules. Has it managed to come to the end of a day and you still haven’t snapped a photo yet? For me, snapping something really quickly in the mirror as I’m brushing my teeth with my phone is absolutely acceptable. Also, dare I mention it, skipping a day that just isn’t happening is okay. Sometimes I’ll make up for it by using a photo from a different, but maybe similar day, or by using something that I’ve reworked in a new way.
No, really. Bring your camera EVERYWHERE. The problem with this is that the other part of it is being comfortable taking your camera out, setting up a shot, and taking it in those everywhere places. This is something that I still struggle with. If I’m out to dinner with friends in a busy restaurant, I’ll have my camera in my bag, but I’m still, five-years-into-365ing-in, really hesitant about getting my camera out. Does anyone ever care if I do? Nope. Not once have I had it be a problem when I’ve actually done it, but it’s a stumbling block for me. Often I just don’t get that shot, but sometimes I’ll use my phone or a smaller camera instead and that makes it feel a little less “that crazy lady with the huge camera over there in the corner booth.” (I will note, though, that in the company of other photographers, I’m way more likely to pull that big old DSLR out of my bag and shoot away – confidence in numbers!)
Shoot early, shoot often. This is the one I tell myself I’m going to do differently EVERY time. If you get your shot for the day in the morning, you’re golden. You don’t even have to think about it for the entire rest of the day. I think this to myself, truly, every time. And you’d better believe that the shots of my own late-night going to bed routine find their way into my project every time (speaking of which, I need to take my shot for today yet… ha!). Sometimes life is just in the way, and you don’t get to it until later. Again, I’ve let that be something that I’m really fine with.
You’re not going to make something fantastically stunning and amazing every single day. Now, if you manage to, the biggest kudos to you, but I know that that hasn’t been my reality at all. I’ll have a good streak of shots that I’m really proud of, love and make plans to print and hang large. And then I’ll have times where everything is some crap shot that just plain is. I’ve learned to not get hung up on the imperfect and the boring ones (you know, photos of the curtains and the ceiling fan, my book shelf, the trinkets on the mantle). I’ve learned that part of this process is letting there be an ebb and a flow.
These are the things that have helped me through my projects. They might work for you and you may look at them and scoff – I’m totally fine with that. That may well be my biggest takeaway from doing this little jaunt a few times – if you don’t make it yours, it won’t be yours, and you’ll be less likely to be able to stick with it.
Will I be heading into year six starting on Sunday? Probably. It’s become pretty habitual now. There are a couple of other projects that I’ve had on my mind for a while that I’ve been considering for the new year too. Fortunately, I don’t have to make any decisions on them for a little while yet. What kind of projects are you looking forward to in the new year? Anyone out there joining me for a 365? I’d love to hear about your project plans!
All the best,