100 Day Project

Apr 20, 2016

This year I’m participating in the 100 Day Project. If you haven’t heard about it on Twitter and Instagram, the 100 Day Project works like this: Pick an action and do it every day for 100 days. I’m usually down for a good challenge so I’ve decided to participate.

I chose writing for my project, which is something I’m both excited and nervous about.

You see, writing and I have a history. I was terrified of writing for the first 22 years of my life. In college, it used to take me 10+ hours sitting in front of my computer to write a 500 word essay. My heart rate would literally go up just opening a blank document in Microsoft Word.

Early on in my career I realized that good designers were also good writers. Because clear writing is clear thinking, whether that’s in an email or in a UI. Writing was too important for me to ignore. I knew it was something I needed to work on when one day at work I realized that I had just wasted over an hour deliberating over an email that shouldn’t have taken more than a couple of minutes to write. It was 6 sentences long.

One day I stumbled across 750words.com. The idea of the site was to write 750 words of stream of consciousness writing every day. It was exactly what I needed to get over my writing anxiety. Every month there was a challenge to write every day for that month. I figured I could do that. How hard could it be to write whatever popped into my head until I reached 750 words? So I signed up for the monthly challenge and looked forward to the first day.

The first time I wrote 750 words, it took me about 2 hours. I struggled and sweated to write literally anything that came to mind.

The second time it took little over an hour. And every time after that was shorter than the time before.

I completed the month without missing a day. It was incredibly difficult. But I did it.

I kept writing every day for 3 months before finally missing a day. But I didn’t care at that point. I worked through the pain and anxiety of writing and it was worth the late nights sitting in front of my computer trying to write something, anything, so I could go to bed.

Now I write for fun. I write when I need to get ideas out of my head or when I need to process things.

Most of the writing I’ve done I haven’t shared with other people. Learning how to write and learning how to write something someone will read are two very different things.

So I’m doing the challenge to get to the next step. I’ve learned how to write, now I’m learning how to publish.

Because I’ve written a lot. And I know it doesn’t seem like it from looking at my post archive. As of today, there are 218 drafts in my drafts folder. None of which anyone else has seen.

Paying it forward

The other reason why I want to write came from a tweet I came across:

So it’s my turn. I want to write to help people be better designers. I learned design from people willing to write their ideas and share them with others. I wouldn’t have been a designer for the last 10 years without the generosity of other people.

So expect to see more writing from me. Most people doing the challenge are creating something and sharing it every day. I think I’m going to take a slightly slower pace to stay flexible with cadence since I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to write a blog post. I’m shooting to share something 1-2 times a week.

If you’re interested in the challenge or you’d like to see all the cool things people are doing, check out #100dayproject on Twitter and Instagram. People are doing some cool stuff.

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