Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let's Talk Projects/Classes that Overstay their Welcome

My first page - describing the purpose of my sketchbook and featuring one of my recent face paintings.
Last spring, I signed up for the Sketchbook Project (see this post for details).  My theme was "In  ten minutes," and I set it up as a smashbook, with prepared backgrounds that I could easily add to and thus create an interesting page in ten minutes or less. When I signed up for it, I thought it would be an easy project to complete. Plus, the deadline was not until the end of January. I started off with a lot of enthusiasm, but it soon languished on my desk with only the occasional entry. Now, with the deadline just a week away, I found the sketchbook and decided to finish it up.  Some pages feature my thoughts about the day's events:
The page on the left chronicles some of the things I accomplished in getting healthy; the page on the right reflects on Sept. 11 - ten years later.
The page on the left is about our vacation to Seattle and the San Juan Islands. The page on the right talks about the upcoming soccer season for my son's team.
Others deal with how I'm feeling about things in my life.
A page about some of the struggles in raising the kids.
A few are just happy art.
As you can tell from the title of today's post, I think this was a project that overstayed its welcome. I should probably have realized that before I signed up for it. I'm best with short-term projects.  I like online classes that are 3-4 weeks long; any longer, and I start to fade. I did fine at the "week in a life" and "photo-a-day for a month" photography projects, but I know I could never do Project 365.  On the other hand, as I finished up my pages today, I found that I really enjoyed them. And, in looking at my completed pages, I was happy that so many incorporated actual drawing and sketching.  These pages feel very different than my art journal pages, and they track the advice about making a sketchbook in the book, Painted Pages, which I'm slowly working through. So, although this does feel like a project that overstayed  its welcome, I feel like I still got something out of it. And, in the end, I'm glad I did it. It also feels good to have it completed. I'll mail it off tomorrow.
So, let's talk about it. . . have you ever started a class or project that overstayed its welcome? Did you regret it? Or was there a benefit to it? Do you feel compelled to finish or do you just let it drift?  I'll leave this post up for a couple days, as I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
 "Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging.


Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape said...

oh, I'm so jealous! in a good way. I wish I could someone channel my inner creative self and at least do an entry a week. My sketchbook is somewhere in my craft room, totally lost track of it. I had such good intentions when I started it. Love your sketches, you're really good at keeping up with things but it's good that you know your limits too and you are able to move on.

Amy said...

Any project that is a year long does not hold my attention, despite my inner voice declaring that I will keep up, or that I will be constantly motivated ... ermmm, no!
I have decided that I can devote a concentrated effort for a small period of time, unfortunately I would say I am the all or nothing type of person, and, giving my all to a scrap/photog class for any longer than a month is never going to be a success.

PL and 365 are prime examples, I love the theory, but know how I would be. It's not about productivity, the thought of these make me feel constrained, or like I have a dead line and that is not how I want to feel about my hobby.

I'm interested to hear what others think on this one, I really think it's about finding your own personal groove - it's really individual and I'm glad there is a lot of variety around these days for inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I'm in total agreement with you. I took two three month classes at BPC. One of them was the best scrapbook class I ever took, and because of that, I did keep up. The other one seemed overwhelming from the start, and thus never got started.

One month is about the limit for me, although I've kept up with Project 64 for over a year now and have really enjoyed it. I'm giving 365+1 a shot this year in an effort set up a couple daily practices. So far, it's going pretty well (though I've failed at this twice before). I think it's easier this time because of the iPhone. Photography classes seem easier to me to keep up with than scrapbook or paper crafting classes.

Sian said...

well, you sketch book certainly does look like it was worth finishing up :)

I have done a couple of 3 month long classes and I also found I worked hard at one and let the other one drift. It was just too intense. I'm trying 365+1 and I do hope to complete it - but if I don't I'm not too worried. I'll just be glad of the extra pictures it has given me. It's a great question though - and one thing I will say is that I am loving my scrapbooking four years in!

scrappyjacky said...

I'm definately one for shorter classes....the only longer one I've tried was 'one little word' last year....and I soon lost interest in the class.
Project 365 would be a non starter for me....I just know it....I can't sustain that sort of interest....and like Amy....would just find it constraining.
I just like to flit between things,I s'pose.

Alison said...

I reckon I'm not good at longterm projects either... like Amy, I'm an all-or-nothing person, and I get too involved and then stressed if it's not 'happening' and it's not where I want to be with something I normally enjoy so much! Your sketchbook looks great
Alison xx

Melissa said...

I do pretty good with short or mid-length classes. This year I'm signed up for three year-long classes (the first really long ones), so I'll have to see how they go. I do like to finish projects . . . that's why I have that "in process" shelf!

Terry said...

I have taken a few classes that I won't say over stayed their welcome, but I just could not stay any longer! To me if I take a class and just benefit from one concept, I am happy! That is terrible, right?

You are an inspiration of what beautiful things can happen, if you finish what you start! Love this!

Irene said...

I think we all start class/projects with good intentions of finishing them. I applaud those who complete those long term class /projects.

Renee! said...

Haha... LOVE this post because...
my blank sketchbook for the same project is on the couch beside me as I write this! It's staring me in the face with the deadline quickly approaching and way too many other things to do in the mean time! I'll post about it when I get it done... and I will get it done!!!
Thanks again...

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

While I can pull off a 365 Project, because I am perfectly willing to backfill days I didn't remember to take a photo with random photos that symbolize those days, I suck at long term class type projects.

JYC is about the limit for me as far as class length. I can make 6 weeks depending on assignments & my life but I prefer 2-4 week ones.