31 Days of Creativity 2016

Back by popular demand, we are kicking the year off right with another 31 Day Creativity Challenge.

The Challenge: January 1–31, 2016

For the entire month of January, we are challenging ourselves to making something every day. The goal is consistency—making a habit of making.

Daily from Seth Godin’s Blog

“There’s a fundamental difference between the things you do every day, every single day, and the things you do only when the spirit moves you. One difference is that once you’ve committed to doing something daily, you find that the spirit moves you, daily. Rather than having a daily debate about today’s agenda, you can decide once that you will do something, and then decide every single day how to do it.” 12/21/2014

Making Something Every Day

In the spirit of developing good habits of making something every day, even if the spirit doesn’t show up, here’s the challenge:

  • One: pick a single discipline for the challenge. For example, if you want to develop photography skills, take a photo every day. The idea is to help you get better at something.
  • Small: commit to something small. For example, if you want to develop writing skills, write something short every day. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Posting: we will be posting our creations for others in the group to see. This accountability helps, and it’s useful to trace your progress throughout the challenge.
  • Rest: feel free to take one day off each week. Even God rested on the seventh day.


If you are like me, you probably already sensed some resistance to this idea. Here are some voices I just heard as I wrote this:

  • I’m not a very consistent person—I probably will poop out half way through.
  • I’m rusty.
  • What if I do something that isn’t very good? How embarrassing.
  • This is going to cost me something. It takes time, and time is money. Is it worth it?

If you hear voices like that, then maybe you should listen to them and not sign up. Or maybe you will decide not to let them limit you, that it’s better to make something than nothing, and that this could be an interesting learning experience. Either decision is fine.


Anyone who completes the challenge every day, or is the most consistent in the group, wins a prize.

Join In

If you’d like to participate in the challenge, just send an email to (Ken at AccentInteractive [dot] net) and let me know what you’d like to do. Then start creating. Once you have something to share, post it online and send me the link to it so I can include it in our list of participants.



Cindy will be joining in this year again. She’s exploring the rich medium of digital art.

See her work on Flickr.


Recently Tennyson discovered a new passion when his mother taught a unit in school on digital photography. He is accepting the challenge of taking photographs each day of the creative projects of two siblings (see below: Geneva and Benjamin). This will allow him to explore close-up photography techniques, lighting, setting, and use of a light box.

See his work on Flickr.


Known for her ability to keep up with her older brothers, Geneva has a creative identity all her own. This year she has decided to express her creative gift using one of her Christmas gifts, a multi-colored set of Sculpey clay. This hands-on activity puts her directly in control, letting her imagination to run free. “I hope to make new and creative fun things,” she says.
See her work on Flickr.


After spending many years designing with Legos, Benjamin is moving into Nano Blocks. “I want to use them to help me pay more attention to detail and learn techniques that I can’t use with Lego,” says Benjamin. Because they are new to him, he’s just exploring what they can do and getting comfortable with them. “They seem to be more useful for making things that can be displayed and admired,” he says. Because there are fewer kinds of pieces, they encourage even more creativity.

See his work on Flickr.


An important part of the creative process is editing—refining the a working draft and whipping it into shape. It’s at this point that Barbara finds herself on the book she wrote during the challenge last year. It can be painful to remove parts of your piece that don’t work, but if it makes it stronger, have the courage to slash it out.

“My goal is to work every day on edits to my Five Minutes ’Til Friday manuscript. My ultimate target is to get the manuscript down to 100,000 words from its current 122,000 words. I have already read and made mark-ups on 1/3 of the manuscript. Initially, I’ll be reading a hard copy and marking up. Then I will be at the keyboard applying the changes and delving into deeper rewrites. Once I see how far the first pass gets me, I’ll know what I need to accomplish from there. I will send a message each day with an update.”

  • Day 1: Worked 2 hours reviewing manuscript
  • Day 2: Reviewed/edited Pages 108 – 147. Observation: There are many small scenes that can easily be removed. There are other long scenes that I am finding very hard to edit. But I see room for improvement on every page!
  • Day 3: Reviewed pages 147-203 in the hardcopy. Found some small scenes that can be deleted. Also found some great scenes that I really enjoyed re-reading! Yay for me!!
  • Day 4: Reviewed pages 239-308. This is the heart of the story. Not a lot too cut from the action. But there is one long piece of the backstory that needs to be cut significantly. Hoping for inspiration at that moment!
  • Day 5: Finished the read through – pages 309 – 359. It was fun to read! I will begin tomorrow to make the actual edits in the book file. That will be challenging in places that I recognize I need to rewrite. I probably need to cut 20% of this book. I doubt that I have edited down so far is that much. But I’ll wait and see the results and go from there!
  • Day 6: Edited 31 pages online today. Removed 1,100 words! Off to a good start.
  • Day 7: Edited 27 pages and cut 1,892 words. I think the El Nino weather is going to make cozying up with my edits an attractive task this month!
  • Day 8: Edited 12 pages, cut 518 words. Hoping for some good long hours to work this weekend! Now off for a glass of wine with my husband!
  • Day 9: Edited 24 pages.  Cut 2,049 Words.  This was a section of the book that needed a lot of tightening!
  • Day 10: 41 pages edited. Cut 2,603 words. Observation:  I usually hate the month of January.  And Sunday nights in January have historically been the lowest point of the year for me.  These two Januarys – last year and this year – have been so purposeful and fantastic.  It’s a major shift in attitude.  I just to just pray and hang on, wishing January away.  Not is has become one of the most important and productive times of the year for me!  Thank you!
  • Day 11: Edited a complex 11 pages. Cut 594 words. Wrote a stronger ending to “act 1.” Found another “Beta Reader” who will review this draft when I am ready!
  • Day 12: Edited 11 pages.  Removed 554 words. Pressing on…
  • Day 13: 15 pages edited.  Cut 697 words!
  • Day 14: Rough edits of 33 pages and cut 1,662 words – will have to revisit many of these pages tomorrow!
  • Day 15: 13 pages edited (and revisited some from yesterday) and cut 487 words. Half-way through January, just over half-way through the book!  Busy weekend!
  • Day 16: Very long day – sat down to work at 10:15 p.m. But, got through 12 pages and cut 583 words. Just over halfway through the book, and I have cut 13,000 of the 21,000 I hope to cut!
  • Day 17: 20 pages edited. Cut 827 Words.
  • Day 18: Edited 25 pages.  Cut 1,986 words.  Have cut more than 40 pages from the manuscript so far!
  • Day 19: Edited 22 pages. Cut 537 words!
  • Day 20: Edited 20 pages.  Cut 269 words.  This is the heart of the action.  There isn’t really much to cut into here!
  • Day 21: Need to spend time with my husband, who has been traveling.  So a short session today! Edited 6 pages. Cut 110 Words.
  • Day 22: Edited 12 pages.  Cut 565 Words!  Squeezing my writing time into another full day! Hope to get a lot of time to finish this pass and re-proof the book this weekend!
  • Day 23: Edited 16 pages, cut 747 words. Only 10 pages left to edit!!!!
  • Day 24: Finished the full manuscript edit.  Worked on 11 pages today – and cut 90 words. Over the next couple of days, I have some universal changes to check.  Then I will print the manuscript and proof it again for typos I may have introduced in this extensive edit. I have cut over 17,000 words and 44 pages from the book at this point.  There might be just a tad more I can discover in the final edit. Hope to complete this read/cleanup this week – but may take me a little longer.  I am very pleased with the work I have done!
  • Day 25: Did a set of production checks to the file – consistency of usage, etc.  Cut 123 Words.  PDF’d the file and sent it to Office Depot for printing. When I pick it up tomorrow, I will start another proof pass, input any corrections from that, and then I will be sending it to another beta reader and another friend reader.
  • Day 26: Proofed 38 pages of the revised manuscript. Out reads much cleaner now.
  • Day 27: Proofed 48 pages today. Found just two paragraphs that I want to rework. Reads well!
  • Day 28: Proofed 63 pages today. Pressing myself to grrr at this read and the tweaks made by Sunday!
  • Day 29: Proofed 63 pages. 100 to go!  Happy Friday!
  • Day 30: Proofed 96 pages – book finished! I am now going to start entering the correction I found in my proof pass.  There are still three small scenes that I need to tweak to take out lameness! This has been a great process!
  • Day 31: I entered proof corrections for 162 pages today. This was a great month!  Thanks for providing me with the motivation to carry it out.  The book is immensely improved!


Oliver has decided to expand on his image editing skills using Adobe Photoshop. “Be sure to read the description for each photo,” he says.

See his work on Flickr.


Spencer started doing drawing (like last year) and then bar chart art, but he wanted to move away from that because it required too much help from Benjamin. “Now I’m trying to experiment with iPhone photography,” says Spencer. “I want to learn about using flash, mirrors, and different techniques I can use.” This is Spencer’s first year using a hand-me-down iPhone 4, and he’s loving it.

See his work on Flickr.


Mary will be mixing photographs with verses of the Bible.

See her work on Flickr.


“I’ll be writing a poem a day and a paragraph a day on my novel (at least),” she says. It will be interesting to see how her poetry and novel relate to each other as she does two projects at the same time.



Ken writes on topics like creativity, work, and productivity. Learn from his discoveries…and his mistakes.




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