Last month, I finally finished my 100 Day Project, after many stops and starts. I began the project with good intentions and excitement in April of last year, feeling that it would give me a chance to develop my poetry writing and give me the focus I needed to write poetry for a book. After just less than a year of attempting to get it finished – I can say that writing poetry for a 100 Day Project is not necessarily the easiest thing to do. Deceptively, you would think that because you can do it anywhere – using your phone and a notes app, pieces of scrap paper, a notebook – it would be easy.
Granted, I set myself a little bit of tough task because I also wanted to combine poetry with images – whether texture background or photography, so that needed a little more thought on my part. I began by taking my own photos of texture backgrounds but quickly found that this didn’t always create the best background for text. So I turned to Unsplash, an attribution-free photography website, where photographers generously allow their photos to be used and edited. It gave me more freedom to find images that worked according to theme or mood of the poetry. Over time, I found some incredible photos that sometimes seemed to match the poetry perfectly.
I edited the images and added the poetry by using apps on my phone or PicMonkey, which I had to pay for to be able to save the photos to my computer. I found PicMonkey great because I could easily position text and move things around without any fiddly mistakes – but I think using Pixlr would work too (which is mostly free). I edited poems and photos as and when, usually a number of them at a time, so without access to my laptop, sometimes I found it harder to be motivated. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered Canva, a great app for photo editing that includes a brilliant text adding tool, with a wonderful array of fonts.
I’ve always connected writing poetry to emotions and mood, so it was a challenge for me to write poetry in a more structured way. Ultimately, this is why it took me much longer to finish the project than I had anticipated, and if you’re not used to writing poetry consistently, then I’m not sure if the pressure of a 100 Day Project for poetry is a good idea. By the end of it, I felt like I wanted a break from writing poetry, which definitely wasn’t my aim when I started – I wanted to become more inspired! People are different, however, and if you can simplify a project so that it’s easy to do each day, then why not give it a try?
At the end of it, though, I’ve completed 100 poems of varying subject and theme. I was inspired by emotions, nature, life, struggles (both mental and emotional), and relationships. I felt that I challenged myself to write through a difficult year, and that poetry can convey a great many things in various ways. And finding photos that matched theme and mood was a good exercise in visual clarity, even if I would have preferred to take my own photos, if I had the time for it. I appreciate the artistry that goes into photography and visual storytelling more than ever.
After a little break from poetry, I hope to go back over the poems I’ve written and start thinking about compiling and writing more poetry for a book – I’ve been encouraged by great feedback and by the project to keep challenging and pushing myself.
If you do or have done a 100 Day Project, I hope it didn’t take a year to complete, but then, life is strange and sometimes short term projects become long-term!
‘Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.’ – Leonardo DaVinci.