Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

What Comes After 100 Essays in 100 Days?


In March 2022 I finished 100 essays in 100 days. I wrote this essay on my 100th day, exploring what could be next (spoiler alert: I've not written over 200 essays).

 

Today I finished 100 days of writing 100 essays.


Naturally, I’ve written essays about the process, such as:


The writing was not difficult. Ideas flowed from me. I typically chose what was most alive in me that day and wrote that.


There were topics I wanted to write about, but I knew those would take more time and deep thought than I was ready for. I liked the ones where the writing just poured out naturally.


A mixed media collage of multiple excited animals to illustrate that many more ideas come.
"There's Plenty More" Mixed Media Collage by Jackie Schuld

Most of the time, I found that the process of writing about a subject led me to more thoughts on it, further bolstering my opinions. The process of discovery and understanding has always been an exhilarating part of writing.


Some of the difficult parts included figuring out how to conclude an essay and the best way to title it.


Then, of course, there was the difficulty of sharing the essays. I don’t typically publish an essay the same day that I write it. I like to let it sit for a little while and then edit it later. It then takes time to format the essay for a blog, put in links, find and edit a piece of my art that matches, publish it to my blog, and appropriately share it in other places. In this 100 days, I’ve published almost 50% of my essays. I’d like to get about 30% more out there.


The other 20% probably won’t make it to the light of day. The writing wasn’t clear enough or perhaps was a little too personal to open myself to others opinions.


Readers have been both a draw and a hindrance in this project. I found myself more motivated as more people liked, shared, or commented. But then, I went through a period where barely anyone was reading my essays (I have no idea why) and I felt incredibly discouraged. I stopped sharing for a little while. I had to do some real soul searching about why I’m writing.


I want my time and experiences to mean something. Writing essays that I thought others would find helpful, encouraging, or insightful contributed to the amount of meaning in my life.


When no one read them, I had to ask myself, “Would you keep writing them if no one would read them?” The majority of my visual art that I make is never seen by anyone, and I am perfectly okay with that. Why is writing different? Why is writing for myself not enough?


I guess because I’m not writing these essays for myself (and I do write for myself all the time… it just stays in my journal). I’m writing for others, for our communities. I’m writing on subjects that I think impact all of us and are relevant to us all. I’m writing for change and betterment.


Writing that just now, I didn’t realize that till I just wrote it. And that is one of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge. To give myself space for thoughts.


And, I wanted to do something difficult. I wanted a mountain to climb. It’s a very public challenge. “100 Essays in 100 Days” is something I can proclaim to others. It was my own mountain to climb and I wanted others to see me doing it. A bit of my egoism at play.


And now that I’ve climbed this mountain, I’m ready to go on in a quieter way. I don’t feel the need to proclaim what’s next to others or set up a public challenge. I want to continue writing and contributing to our community, and I have some structure in mind for that, but I’d like to keep that to myself.


I don’t need to tell people I’m climbing more mountains. I’m going to quietly enjoy my meanderings in the wild.

 

Now, it’s July, and I can say that I’ve continued my daily writing and “meandering in the wild” without having to proclaim a larger goal. In fact, I’ve started writing multiple essays a day as more and more writing ideas emerge. Today I wrote my 235th essay.

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