When was the last time you made something as opposed to created something?

I have been posing this question to myself on a regular basis recently. It’s why I started a small number of projects (most of which I can’t talk about) that fall outside of my salaried work. Why? Because I realised I was creating a lot and making very little.

First up, what’s the difference between the two?

This question is the same – or at least to me it’s the same – as asking what the difference between baking and cooking.

Creating means forming something from nothing; making is forming something by mixing, combining or shaping materials. Baking uses raw materials to make a food; cooking uses foods to create a meal. And it’s what I think – you can disagree all your want, which is great. You can write about that on your own blog <emoticon>wink and smile</emoticon>

So, I seem to create a lot of things – ideas, apps, scamps, thoughts, etc – but often these get pushed to one side as the client decides the budget should be cut, or the account person is feeling pressurised to do something tried and tested, or the creative person loses interest in their idea because they think they’ve had a better one. None of these is a bad reason to not make something – it’s just the nature of what I do (creative) and the business in which I choose to work (advertising).

But it should NOT mean I NEVER make anything.

And this goes beyond the stuff I do at home with my daughter, which invariably involves glue, paper, wood, stickers, wool – heck, anything craft related.

  • It’s not about writing another blog post.
  • It’s not about writing more and more words about how I need to make more (oh, how ironic to write that!)
  • Etc.

It’s about making something that other people can use, can build upon. It’s about providing a set of tools for making more things. Because then I can be making something that allows other people to create things. And, for me, that’s where it gets exciting.

What’s next, then?

I’ve decided that over the next 12 months I’m going to make things. Not create, but make. Manufacture if you like, although that in itself is a clumsy term. I don’t mean to say that it’s got to be a physical object (book, t-shirt, etc), but it is must have something tangible about it. It must be made, not just an idea.

I know that I’m going to have to partner with people, as I don’t have the necessary skills to make some of the things I want to; other times I will use collaboration to make something better than I could do on my own (not because I lack the skills, but I lack the time needed to do things properly).

The first project that will move from creation to manufacturer is My Earliest Memory project – mostly because it’s mine, but also because I think the content collected on the site will make great tools from which to fashion something a bit more lasting.

I have a bunch of other ideas, too – some fleshed out, others nothing more than a sentence on in a notebook. There could well be other people out there with projects that require someone like me – if so, drop me a line.