Last week I passed the big 3-0 days of my #100daysofshoemaking which means by now I’m more than a third of the way through. Woah! It should also mean I have more than 30 shoe posts on my Instagram account to sift and scroll through too but do I? Here is my honest account of how the first part of the project has gone, what’s coming up next and some tips for anyone out there embarking on a similar challenge…

Let’s recap on the project

So incase I need to bring you up to speed, The 100 Day project is a creative challenge, lead by @lindsayjeanthomson which started on 7th April 2020. You set your own project brief, attempt to work on it every day for 100 days and post regularly about your progress on Instagram so we can all engage, inspire and motivate each other. I decided I would base mine around shoes and am running with the hashtag #100daysofshoemaking. Sounds simple right?

The concept is really straightforward but, as with any challenge, the hard part is maintaining momentum and posting every day. If you want the honest truth, (and I’m sure you’re reading this because you do), I haven’t been publishing pictures each day and it probably looks like I haven’t fully committed to my goal but the reality is I am definitely making some great progress.

Er, OK so what does that mean?!

From my Instagram feed it may look like the work just isn’t there but I’d say that in these first 38 days, there have probably only been about 2 or 3 days in which I haven’t been thinking about shoemaking in one form or another. Sometimes I just haven’t been able to record it into a little square for the grid; either because it made for a pretty shit photo or because all day with the two Smalls has left me a frazzled mess sprawled on the sofa by the evening and unable to string a sentence together. Usually the latter. The visual output of my project is somewhat lacking BUT what’s happening in the background is transformative and I’m really happy with how things are going because it’s keeping me focused. Every day might not be a win in the Instagram stakes but the point of my project was to give me an actionable goal – to put shoemaking on my daily agenda for 100 days, follow my passion and see where it might lead. Thanks to this goal I have already:

  1. Made the time to design shoes
  2. Experimented with new media like watercolours
  3. Added new material to my sketchbook
  4. Listened to podcasts on building a shoe business
  5. Discovered and connected with other shoemakers/designers on Instagram
  6. Watched many inspiring shoemaking interviews and videos
  7. Started making a pair of leather sandals
  8. Journaled regularly about my shoemaking aspirations
  9. Pushed myself out of my comfort zone by entering a shoe design competition
  10. Started planning out and visualising some new ideas I have for a career in footwear
  11. Written 2 new blog posts and decided to steer my blog in a shoemaking direction
  12. Rediscovered my love for shoemaking, craft and design
screenshot of original image taken from @dperrottiboots. This was an amazing Facebook Live between all of the above shoemakers.

You could really benefit from a challenge like this!

If you feel a bit creatively lost, a project like this could really reignite that spark that you’ve been missing. I’ve certainly found it to be the case. My Instagram doesn’t accurately reflect the impact that #100daysofshoemaking is having on me but I KNOW it’s working some magic because it’s now bringing shoemaking into each day where previously there was only room for feeling like an uncreative, frustrated mum. My reason to embark on the challenge was to learn to make time for my passion, to explore it and see where it goes. If I can put intention behind my actions and energy into them, I’m confident that after 100 days I’ll have not only some clarity as to where to go next but maybe also some new opportunities.

Top 5 tips for creating a successful 100 Day Project

  1. Be intentional about it. What’s your reason, your why? This will keep you focused when you’re not sure what to do next
  2. Be realistic. It’s suggested on the website HERE that when you set your project, try to keep it simple and find something you can do in 5-10 mins a day. That way, you’re more likely to complete the 100 days and not give up if you miss one. I’ve missed a fair few days of posting but I’m still going. I’m a mum with 2 kids under 3 and trust me, learning to lower my expectations of what I can do is also part of this process!
  3. If you can’t come up with an image for your grid, just add something to your stories instead. You can dress it up with stickers or GIFs and in the end it only lasts 24 hours anyway.
  4. Progress shots seem to go down really well. People love to see behind the scenes so save those sketches and scrappy plans so you can show the whole process behind your work.
  5. If you’re struggling, don’t give up. Take a pause and remind yourself why you set out on this journey in the first place; was it to rediscover the joy of being creative? to create a new body of work for your portfolio? Was it to learn a new skill or simply push yourself out of your comfort zone? Just imagine what you can achieve in 100 days of small steps!

I hope that helps and if you want to talk more footwear or 100 Day Projects with me, drop me an email on the contact page and we’ll carry on the conversation.

Zoe x

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