Making Things in 2016

I ran across Justin Jackson’s 2016 Maker Challenge a while back, and it sounded like a good excuse to work on some projects I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Here’s a list of things I want to make, build, create, or otherwise bring to life.

This list starts off specific, and heads into more nebulous territory. There are some real dragons around number 5 or 6, and this list only gets MORE NEBULOUS from there.

1) Write 10 New Short Stories

While this is technically 10 things, I’m counting it as one. This is an easy one for me - I wrote 12 short stories in 2015.

Those stories were mostly just first drafts, though, and that’s A Problem. I only have final edits of 2 out of the 12 stories I wrote in 2015.

This year, I’m focusing on polishing and editing stories I’ve written. So when I say “Write 10 Short Stories” what I mean is “Write and Rewrite and Rewrite and Rewrite 10 Short Stories Until You Feel Like Another Human Being Could Read Them.”

2) Build A Web App

I’m a huge fan of Hemingway for editing, but it doesn’t do a few things I’d like. I’ve had an idea for a similar tool for a while, and I’ve already started working on it.

This app idea is a big part of why I want to get better at JavaScript, by the way.

3) Make A Game

As you may know, I’m a big, big fan of video games. Maybe one of the biggest. I’ve always wanted to make a game, and this seems like a good year to finally do it.

Bonus: this is a good excuse to play around with Unity and/or learn how iOS programming works.

4) Construct Raised Garden Beds

Miss Lady is an avid gardener. In late spring 2015, we put in a couple of store bought raised garden beds. They’re pretty good, and produced a ton of delicious yellow tomatoes this past summer, but we’d like to expand this year.

One of our neighbors has some great looking raised beds, and I’d like to try my hand at building some myself. As a (relatively new) homeowner, I’m very interested in the idea of improving our home myself. No joke - I bought some foam insulators for our outlets on Amazon last night, and I am super excited to install them.

I like these ideas, and would like to use them as inspirato:

Raised Garden Bed Designs

5) Record and Publish A Podcast

Fun fact: I used to do a podcast with some friends called Dream Spoofers, back in 2008 - 2010. The idea was that one of us would have a dream, tell the others about it, and then we’d interpret that dream.

The working idea I have for a new podcast is Tyler Cusses at Games. I often narrate what’s happening when I play video games. It’s something I’ve always done, and I think it’d be funny to record what I say, then edit it together.

Maybe with an introduction, like “This week, I’m replaying Super Metroid. Here’s what I thought about it,” followed by a few choice comments like “Hell yeah, Super Missles!” or “Ugh stop draining my energies, nerd.”

6) Make A Twitter Bot

Remember when I said shit would get nebulous? I don’t have a great idea for what kind of Twitter bot I want to make. Just that I want to make one. I’ve wanted to make one ever since I tweeted about Robocop and got this incredible response:

I'd Buy That For a Dollar

I loved this Twitter Bot, by the way. He hit me up a couple times because sometimes I need to talk about Robocop.

(I’ve since discovered that Twitter Bot has been retired. Good write up!)

7) Draw Comics

I drew a lot when I was a kid. Mostly undersea photos full of jelly fish and sharks, or dinosaurs that lived inside of volcanoes. But I had a couple of regular comics I drew for a while. “Ninja Guy and Judo,” was about a ninja who went on adventures in space with his butler.

I had another one about a snake and a vulture who were buddies, but I don’t remember what I called it.

It’s something I miss doing, so what if I drew more comics? They don’t have to be good. In fact, maybe they shouldn’t be good!

8) Record and Publish A Song or an Album

I don’t have any musical talent. It’s something I’ve long accepted and come to terms with, but I still have a desire to make music. I used to mess around in Garage Band, and I made a couple of tracks by layering sound effects together.

I still think the idea has merit, so I’m planning on making at least one song (maybe an EP) and releasing it this year.

9) Build An Internet of Things Device

We’re squarely off the map here.I’ve recently become interested in hardware hacking thanks to some friends. My biggest idea is a real life version of these shoes, from one of my favorite Achewood strips:

Here Comes a Special Boy

Maybe this is what I should build. I have some idea of how to put the hardware together. I’m looking at you, speakers and pressure sensors!

But what about connecting these shoes to the internet? What if the speakers could connect to my Spotify account, and play a random song from my Boner Jams 2016 playlist?

This year is about playing around with interesting technology, and getting away from the pervasive feeling that I should only be working on things that are immediately useful. Sometimes I just want to build something dumb because building something dumb is fun.

So there’s a working list of what I want to make in 2016. What about you? What are you going to make this year?

I'm Tyler, and I blog about marketing, programming, writing, and things I'm working on.

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