30 by 30 Challenge: Make 30 new things by my birthday

So……I have 39 days left of my twenties. To put it diplomatically, I have mixed feelings about this.

As I wrestle with the “should haves” from the last decade, one wish is that I had spent more time making stuff. Growing up, when we asked our mom to buy us a treat of some kind, more often than not she would say, “We can make that.” This shaped all three of us siblings, even if many of those times we never made the thing we wanted to buy. Today, we all approach needs that arise with the question, “How might I make that?” It meant so much to my sister, in fact, that she tattooed “I can make that” on her wrist, a permanent reminder of her identity as a creator.

Making more things, I think, will be a goal of my thirties. I want to spend more time doing than just thinking about stuff I could do, more time creating than consuming.

megamaker-logo-3dEnter the Mega Maker Challenge.

The other day my friend Tony pointed me toward a podcast by designer Justin Jackson who is undergoing a challenge to make 100 new things in 2016. He is inviting his audience to take part, and it seemed fitting to ramp up to year (gasp!) 30 by likewise making a bunch of stuff. This makes a lot of sense to me because…

1. I feel best when I am doing creative work.
2. Because Todd Henry, author of the Accidental Creative, advocates for unnecessary creating, i.e. creating that is not required for an assignment, to ensure our passions are fed and playtime is incorporated into our routine.
3. Because I want to build a habit of making things regularly, and according to The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor, you need to do something for at least 21 days to build a habit.

With these reasons in mind, I am going to challenge myself to make 30 new things before turning 30. Below is my list with a few explanations. For the record, I reserve right to change list items, so long as I complete making 30 new things by March 4.

  1. latteLatte (Already done! I’m not a big coffee drinker so this is a big deal. I made it with brown sugar, by the way, which was very yummy.)
  2. (Finish making) Peter’s music video. My friend Peter McKeown, also known as Woodferd, and I have begun producing a second music video. See the first here 
  3. Shadow Puppet. I’ve wanted to make one since seeing a performance in Cambodia. I started one a while ago. I’m gonna finish it.
  4. Story infographic. In my quest to understand Story, I want to create a graphic that illustrates the necessary components of a story arc. Plus I’ve always wanted to make an infographic.
  5. Artsy map of Nashville. These already exist, but they leave all of Donelson and Southern Nashville out. For shame. We live in Southern Nashville on purpose, thank you very much.
  6. Standing soufflé. Julia Child done me wrong. I can’t get a soufflé to stay poofy. I will prevail!
  7. Short Story
  8. Tiered Cake. Never made one. Always wanted to. Fortunately I have a renaissance party coming up soon that will need a cake, as well as a…
  9. Renaissance Costume
  10. Children’s book 
  11. Food Prep video. Edible wants to begin experimenting with these. Game on! 
  12. Photo Essay. This might be way harder than I want it to be, but we will see. Anyone have ideas for subject matter?
  13. Recipe + Story for Josefin. My dear Swedish pen pal and I are going to start sending each other recipes with the stories behind them included. Maybe one day we will have enough material for a cookbook!
  14. Swedish Meal. My dear Swedish Pen Pal gave us a Swedish cookbook for Christmas. We need to get cracking.
  15. An Epic Poem. This will be epic mostly in style rather than length. Ideas for subject matter?
  16. Side Table. I need more of these.
  17. Song for ukulele. How hard could it be? 😉
  18. Peking Duck. One of my favorite Chinese dishes.
  19. Creative Writing Portfolio. Need to compile my best stuff in one place. Any nominations for past blog posts?
  20. Logo. Never made one. Want to try.
  21. UofC swag. Proud of my alma mater.
  22. Continent Cutouts Photo Project. I painted our bedroom blue with the idea we could cut out shapes of the continents in wood and connect photos of the places we’ve been to their corresponding locations.
  23. Lamp. Need more.
  24. Wood carving. Might try to start a nativity scene.
  25. A hat. 
  26. Mocumentary
  27. Comic Strip. Drawing scares me, especially when it comes to cartoonish styles. This will definitely stretch my comfort zone.
  28. Kintsugi. This Japanese concept involves repairing broken items, usually pottery, in beautiful ways. I have a bowl I love and I want to give this a try.
  29. Musical instrument 
  30. Jewelry, preferably from some unusual raw materials.

Here goes! Wish me luck and join the challenge yourself!



Filed under Inspiration and Creativity, Life, True Stories

11 responses to “30 by 30 Challenge: Make 30 new things by my birthday

  1. Ryan Forsythe

    Hey Emily,

    I have a random question for you. Have you ever made a chutney before? I got thinking about it because I was in Chicago recently and had what apparently is some sort of authentic Spanish sandwich with a slight twist. It was a ham sandwich with gruyere cheese (not sure what type), jalapeños, avocados, and a mango chutney all on a pretzel bun (that was the un-Spanish twist). It was very very good. I thought it might be something you would like and would be easy to make, though I know nothing about making chutney.

    • ecapo

      Yes! I don’t know if I’ve ever made it before but I have consumed a bunch of it! You should try making it!

      • Ryan Forsythe

        I may just go ahead and do that. Good luck with your 30 by 30 Challenge. It’s too late for me to do that now. haha!

  2. Check your latest email and you’ll have inspiration for get going with 13 and 14. Btw, love this. I’m going to write a list of my own. High five for more creativity in life! Game on!

    • ecapo

      Hooray! Woke up to your email this morning and it made me smile. I already have a plan for the recipe to send to you.
      Can’t wait to see your list!

  3. Pingback: Love Emily’s 30 by 30 challenge: | Maker Livestream

  4. Hey girl. Glad I found this blog from the megamaker page. I’m participating in it too! Love some of your ideas like the mockumentary and kintsugi(which has my name all over it!) can’t wait to see your fun creations xoxo

  5. Pingback: 30×30 Challenge: Update #1 | Learning to Whistle

  6. Pingback: How to Make a Renaissance Feast | Learning to Whistle

  7. Pingback: Been Busy Making Things | Learning to Whistle

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