After giving it some thought over the weekend, I have come to the decision to stop my 365 SL Photography Project. I've kind of wrestled with it for awhile, but now that I have made the decision, it not only feels like a relief, but also like the right thing for me to do.
In the beginning, this kind of project appealed to me because it was an easy framework that I could commit to. When I say 'easy', I mean attainable for me. Committing to a blog post everyday for a year and following through on it is not exactly 'easy', but it was something that I felt I could do. It was kind of like paying my membership to the gym because if I didn't make some kind of commitment, I knew I would never do it. So working on one or a few photos from SL everyday was kind of like my training wheels for flexing my creative muscles.
And I learned a lot. I learned about the rule of thirds for taking interesting photos, when to use that rule, and more often, when to break it. I learned all the little in's and outs of my SL viewer. I tried different viewers including the official SL viewer and several third party viewers. I finally learned how to use Photoshop Elements or at least how to make use of some features to edit my photos to bring out the best in them. There is still so much for me to learn in that respect. I got to know my Macbook from the inside out in a way that playing games and updating my status on Facebook never gave me incentive to do before.
One of the biggest things to come out of my 365 project was that in following through on it for as long as I did (even though it wasn't always everyday), I created a space in my life to learn some new skills to express myself creatively. Every evening when I log into SL, I am there because I am looking for some creative stimulation, or something to fill the well. At this point, it feels like there is a hole in my day if I don't do something about it, and it took several months before that creative space was a consistent part of my daily routine.
So in that sense, the parameters of the project have been a huge support for me. But there comes a time when your training wheels start to feel like they are holding you back, which is where I find myself now. There have been many times, and getting more frequent, that I want to learn something new, but my time limits make room for only doing 365 photos.
I felt a little bad about making this decision, but when I dig past all my negative self-talk that tells me I fail for not finishing or not following through on my commitment, what I find is that beneath it all is the realization that I have outgrown my 365 project...and that's okay.
Which brings me to my next lesson learned...the creative muse does not always, if ever, fit into a neat little package or a set of expectations. Sometimes she cooperates, but most of the time she is fickle and disappears for days or weeks at a time. She hides around the corner and surprises me with inspiration when I least expect it. She will placate me by colouring within the lines, but she does not like it. That strategy worked for me for a little while in bringing a venue for creative expression back into my life, but now it just feels restrictive and I'm ready to let it go.
Does this mean I am going to stop posting images of places to go or things to do in Second Life? No. It just means I am no longer doing it within the boundaries of a 365 project. I still intend on making images and sharing them here on this blog often, and other random thoughts I have. It's just that every time I look at that number in my post title, I wince a little and I can't wait for it to be over. That does not feel good to me.
When I think back to day one of this project, I feel that I have fulfilled my intentions and have gotten more out of if than I ever expected. When I look at it that way, I can hardly feel bad about the number of posts not adding up to 365. The number is never what it was all about. It was really about me accessing my creative inner voice and expressing that in a new way.
My 365 Photography Project served me well, and although I can't claim a big, happy end celebration, I can say it was a pretty good start to putting me on the path to living the authentic creative life I have always wanted.