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Monday, August 17, 2009

Extreme Dedication

I heard about this from Melissa at I heart daily and thought it was pretty amazing: two women, a visionary and a designer, have teamed up for The Uniform Project, a 365-day fundraiser in which Sheena Matheiken wears the same dress designed by her friend, Eliza Starbuck, to raise funds for slum schools in India.

Incredible idea!

Sheena styles the dress, a simple black uniform style, into a completely different outfit every day. See July 31st and August 6th below:

They have already raised over $8k for uniforms and school supplies in India. See more about the project and donate at the official website.

What does this have to do with writing, you might ask? My answer: extreme dedication.

While researching CREED and trying to get into my character's head, a friend of mine told me about someone she knew who had gone for a year without buying any new clothes. A year. No socks, jeans, nothing. "Maybe you should do that for your research," she said.


But...I decided to try it. For my character.

I wasn't really a sock girl before, but I was amazed how important they became once they'd all suddenly sprung holes. They would be important to my characters, and my complaints would be minor compared to theirs. I had to get creative on a daily basis - though nowhere near as creative as Sheena and Eliza! But it gave me a new appreciation for my characters and their conditions.

Many of my friends have shown extreme dedication for their craft:

dressing their kids up as Tom Thumb...
geocaching, buildering, and the first Fairy & Human Relations Congress...
living her own fairy tale despite health obstacles...
...and many more that I can't even link to!

So my question today is, what kind of extreme dedication have you or would you put into your writing and/or art?


  1. Oooooh, Good post, Holly!

    I remember you telling me about your mission to not buy clothes for a year at an SCBWI conference a few years ago. That has stuck with me. Very cool.

    I can't wait to hear others' stories!
    I make a special request that you feature any especially interesting stories related to this on your blog. Very inspiring.

    And I guess it was kind of extreme to help plan an SCBWI Illustrator retreat that took place 3 weeks after my son was born, then another within the first 6 months of his life. Not as extreme as what the SUPERSIZE ME guy did for his art, but still, I'm proud.

  2. I don't know about EXTREME dedication... but I'm quite proud that I, who had always thought of myself as night person, has learned to rise between 4:30 and 5:30 many days a week during the school year, so I can write.

    And now I love it and it is a special time for me.

  3. whatever my character learsn - I try to immerse myself. for example, in one of my books, my character flyfishes - I took lessons.

  4. I want that uniform! I couldn't go a year w/o new clothes, but I do dedicate myself to writing something or other every single day.

  5. I love Kjersten's idea to spotlight my friends' extreme dedication! Please keep the stories coming! You are all inspiring to me.

  6. Brill idea for a post. I'm sure I've done daft things (mainly visiting peculiar organisations such as the people who cryonically freeze dead bodies so they can be brought back to life...)

    But the best example of extreme dedication I've heard is Terry Nation, creator of the 1970s BBC TV series Survivors (and the Daleks). As it was about a world crippled by a virus and reduced to self-sufficiency, he made his family live for six months cut off from normal life and shops and things. They were farming chickens and making their own soap. (Shopping was probably banned too!)