Why Creating Something of Your Own is One of the BEST Uses of Your Time
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Anyone Can be Creative
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be creative. Perhaps you’ve felt like someone standing on the outside looking in, wishing you were a “creative person.” Or maybe you’ve done something creative in the past, but you’ve gotten busy or distracted and you’ve put those old projects and skills on the back burner. If you find yourself resonating with either one of these scenarios then this post is for YOU.
Build Something. Write Something. Create Something.
Using your mind and creativity to craft something and then bring it into the world is one of the absolute BEST uses of your time. Afterall, one of the primary ways to learn something is to get your hands dirty and actually work on a project in that field. Even if it’s a mess. Even if it doesn’t go perfectly. And even if you’re embarrassed to show it to others. For more on this, read here.
There are many ways to create and many ways to be creative. Some of the most fun can be had when combining multiple subjects.
Here are three broad areas you can create in as well as three reasons that you should. Although I’ve paired a reason with each area, all of these criteria apply to making something of your own, no matter what that something is.
Create Something | Creative Outlet
What Counts Towards Being a Maker?
Many times when the word “maker” gets tossed around, especially on the internet, people readily think of others crafting things from raw materials, using their hands and a plethora of tools. While that certainly qualifies, “making” can also apply to more intangible pursuits.
Just because nothing physical is left after you stop singing, does that mean you didn’t make music? What about acting and other theater related activities? And while computer programming is much more of an “indoor kids” activity than hammering heated metal over an anvil, it’s hard to overstate just how prevalent and powerful software is in our everyday lives.
“Making is more than the physical act of building. It’s dancing, it’s sewing. It’s cooking. It’s writing songs. It’s silk-screening. It’s breaking new trails both literally and figuratively.”Adam Savage, “Every Tool’s a Hammer”
So go ahead and learn to code. Play an instrument, Create your own website centered around your favorite hobby, or use your work-derived skills to start a side hustle business.
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Building Something of Your Own
Stress is everywhere. We feel it in our jobs and we feel it in our home lives. It can often drain us of energy and make us feel apathetic about life in general. We should all look for ways to lessen the impact of stress on our lives, and sometimes that does come in the form of taking a good, well-deserved rest. However, crashing on the couch as soon as we get home and doom scrolling through social media can often become a case where the antidote is worse than the symptoms.
I’d argue that instead of only thinking of escaping away from stress, it can sometimes be more helpful to escape to a place of joy and fulfillment. When you do something positive for yourself by exercising your creative muscles it can energize your life by giving you something fun and rewarding to look forward to. Not only is the activity itself rewarding, but it’s satisfying to have something at the end that you can be proud of.
Many times we may find ourselves in a creative job that might even be of our own choosing. But because we work for somebody else, we are hampered by constraints. If you’ve been frustrated at work because you just don’t have the needed autonomy to do things the way you think they should be done, finding your own creative outlet is a perfect way to release some of that frustration. Plus you get to see what’s possible when you do it your way.
Be creative and build something for yourself, in the way that you want to build it, that no one else will get to monkey around with.
Write Something | Body of Work
When in Doubt, Write
If you’re still stuck and can’t possibly believe you’re the creative sort, you can always write. That doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be a good writer right off the bat, but you most likely have the means and the ability to start. And that’s the most important part.
And there are so many means to write these days! You can bang out a short story on your trusty laptop almost anywhere. If pressed, you could even just use your phone. Use a vintage typewriter or feed your insatiable hunger for stationary of all kinds, and write using the good old fashioned method of pen and paper.
Earlier, we mentioned that one of the best ways to learn a skill is to tackle a related project. But what if the thing you’re trying to learn is knowledge based, such as history or philosophy? You guessed it. You write about it.
No matter the topic, writing forces you to deal with your thoughts and ideas directly. It forces you to organize and clarify them. And if you’re trying to convince yourself or someone else of a certain position, it forces you to provide evidence or at least some sort of supporting material.
“Writing, for me, is almost another way of reading, except one level deeper. Almost as soon as I began to read – and I read very early – I began to write.”Donna Tartt, Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, 2014
Beef Up Your Portfolio
It takes time to master any skill or activity and writing’s no different. I often feel like my own writing is lacking and yet I can go back to some of the first posts I published on the site and see very clearly that I’ve improved.
The thing with writing, is that you have to do it often, and you have to do a lot of it. You get better little by little. But what’s also cool about that, is that over time you begin to build up a body of work. That body of work becomes so important. Not only is it a reflection of who we are as creatives, but it’s evidence of what our values are. What we decide to invest our time and energy into.
Imagine the next time someone asks you what you do when you’re not working your job. Imagine how proud you might be to be able to show them a collection of stories, poems, essays, articles, or what have you, that accurately reflect how you think about things.
Build Something | Grit
Building is Immediately Satisfying
Building stuff with your hands is cool. Woodworking, knife making, metal work, basket weaving, crafting, building a robot. It is so satisfying once you’ve put all the pieces together to have a fully formed object come to fruition that once only existed in your mind’s eye.
If it’s a piece of art, you get to enjoy it from now on or you get to impart it to someone else so they can enjoy it. If it’s something functional like a piece of furniture or a tool or a vessel, then you will know every time you use it that it exists because of your work and creativity.
Making as a Metaphor for Life
Any ambitious project in any creative field is going to take a good chunk of time. It very likely will take longer than you think. And it is also likely that you will have some challenges along the way. Maybe you shaved a little bit too much off the piece you’re working on. Went a little heavy on the paint. Maybe you’ve struggled just to use a certain tool or technique.
Dealing with all of these things over several days, or in some cases, weeks or months, is a great way to build grit. Grit is that little word that means your ability to persevere. Nothing significant is accomplished without grit. Beginning a project and following your vision and seeing it through to the end is a small way to practice one of the most important like skills you could ever have.
The excitement of starting something new that you know can be great, becomes all the more meaningful when you choose to trudge through the difficult parts that follow. At the end, when you are admiring your handiwork from a job well done, you give yourself evidence that you can stick with something when it’s important to you.
Whether you’re looking to make money on the side, exert more creative control, or simply express yourself, you can be a creator. You can be a maker and a builder. Humans were meant to create. Don’t deprive the world of your gifts.
Go do the thing. You’ll be glad that you did.