I’m thrilled to host Marisa Goudy on the Creative Mix blog. I met Marisa when I took her Online Empowerment course and have benefited from her consulting. I always admired her as a mompreneur, but was drawn into her bigger story when she began her #365feministselfie project. Watching her images appear on my Facebook feed day after day, I was reminded of Hannah Wilke (subject of doctoral dissertation) and the importance of creating and claiming your own in the media. I also recognized the fortitude of so many young mothers in her photographs of her daughter strapped to her chest while she wrote at a computer. With her new #365 project, Sovereign Reality, Marisa explodes the boundaries of art, life, and the internet, standing up in the chaotic beauty of living and creating while surrounded by little ones.
In her Creative Mix post, Marisa shares the benefits of a #365 Project and their power to transform creative work.
The 365 Project as a Creative Process
by Marisa Goudy
In 2014, I took 365 pictures of myself and posted them on social media. I ended up with so much more than you could ever fit in a photo album.
How to see and how to be seen
Initially, I thought I could express the unexpected benefits of my 365 project by simply describing how it opened me to the process of seeing and being seen. Turns out, there’s more to it than that.
Certainly, a year of photos taught me to see my life from countless new angles. Early in 2014, my newborn and I were trapped inside by the polar vortex, tested by a four-year-old who was stuck in the Frozen vortex. With one creative outlet to depend upon every day – my 365 project – I kept the walls from closing in on me. Later in the year, as I rediscovered my public self, I was able to look at my world with new wonder and discernment, knowing I had to capture at least one moment of each day.
These daily pictures offered unparalleled visibility. Strangers began to feel like they knew me. I met someone at a writing retreat who exclaimed, “You’re the woman from my Google+ stream!” But this recognition wasn’t the only product of all those selfies.
Often I offered pictures that conveyed nothing more profound than, “I’m sleep deprived,” or “I love my cute baby.” Yet this project did more for my online presence than years of following the formulas for so called social media success.
Doing anything online each day, without fail, as part of a greater project gives people the chance to notice you. It compels them to pay attention.
It’s true: it’s almost entirely about showing up. Telling a story that’s real and that connects with the viewer takes you the rest of the way.
But this isn’t a new idea. The relentless innovation of the internet occasionally tricks us into believing that self portraits, daily creative rituals, and the quest for recognition are modern inventions. Of course, they aren’t. As Saundra points out, “it’s all about visibility” is something of a “Yeah? And? So?” sort of epiphany.
Being seen is an integral part of the creative process, but the opportunity to live in the moment while experiencing some virtual immortality is terrifically new. That’s the real miracle of the 365 project.
Dissolving barriers between the real world, the digital world, and the creative world
For years it seemed like there was a wall between “real life” and our internet habits (at least for adults… it’s often a different, sadder story for teens), but that barrier seems to be dissolving ever more quickly. I’m sure you’ve noticed this too: it has become more and more common to start to tell a friend a story over coffee and have her say, “Yeah, I know, I saw your post.” Kind of a conversation killer; kind of nice to realize that people are seeing the stuff you share.
And then there’s the way our online work is perceived. My husband has long considered my internet life to be some alien pastime that has nothing to do with our lives or our livelihood, but even he admits social media isn’t just my latest hobby.
Finally, there’s the “real” creative work that has always stayed in the journal and on the easel – works-in-progress so special and so full of promise that they couldn’t be exposed to the harsh light of pixels and status updates. But that’s changing, isn’t it?
I did not know when I started the #365feministselfie project a year ago that pulling out my camera and showing a glimpse of my day would eliminate that real life/digital barrier for good.
Initially I was embarrassed to admit I was taking a selfie every day, but by the end of the year friends and colleagues were excited to be included in the frame. Somehow, this little online project had meaning.
It was telling a story that mattered to people.
Creative evolution, 365 days at a time
My 2014 project was a New Year’s Day impulse. I liked the #365feministselfie founder’s idea that women who were disappointed by the airbrushed media depictions of women’s lives needed to step up and create their own media. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but if I had known, I would have started a 365 project years ago!
It’s no coincidence that in a year of revealing myself in my least glamorous moments, I also declared essential elements of my own story. I claimed my role as “a creative” who was destined to be so much more than a consultant and scribe.
And now in 2015 I’m finding my stride with a project that’s purely my own.
#365SovereignReality is a more eclectic undertaking that still follows the same form — square images that start on Instagram and make their way to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Occasionally I turn the camera on myself, but I’m just as likely to snap a picture of a doodle, capture my kids at play, or use a nifty app like WordSwag to combine my words with images.
The goal of the project is to more fully define and embody this concept of Sovereign Reality that is at once deeply personal and part my Bigger Story. So far I know It’s about fully occupying your life and work, embracing all the joys and all the shadows and the paradoxes. Sovereign Reality is also the name of my novel trilogy-in-progress.
Ultimately, however, my five year-old says it best “Sovereign Reality is the power of life and love.” I think you could describe any authentic 365 project the same way.
Seeing. Creating. Sharing.
When you transcend the divisions between the real world and the digital world, you’re free to explore new forms of creative expression. There’s an end to the duality that says, “this is my real creative work,” and “this is the stuff that I share on the internet.” You stop having “real” friends” and an “internet community.” You stop hiding behind quotation marks!
Though it may seem contradictory, breaking down these artificial barriers actually encourages you to show up more fully in your own life and in your creative process.
When you recognize that creating a post or consuming digital media is no less real than putting a pen to paper or going to a poetry reading, you’re changing something vital about the way you see, create, and interact. The process of making and living and communicating continue without interruption and you find fresh magic in your own integrity.
BIO: Marisa Goudy is an author and writing coach for creative entrepreneurs. She’s dedicated to exploring the intersection of business, writing, and everyday magic and building the concept of Sovereign Reality to advance her clients’ work as well as her own. She lives and writes in New York’s Hudson Valley with two little fairies, one noisy cat, and a deeply understanding husband. www.marisagoudy.com