The Urge to Create

August 20, 2012

I read a really interesting article in the latest Wired magazine today about the availability of high-end manufacturing solutions and how the are fostering innovation and rapid development with small startups. from things like Chinese factories accepting smaller custom quantities to increase margins, affordable 3D printers and co-op equipment workshops, It really got me excited. But I wasn't sure what I was so excited about, I wanted to create, I had to build something, I needed to feel productive. I instantly rushed to the workbench and starting putting together an small outgoing mailbox for our front door (we still have our mail delivered through a slot, how cool is that?) As nice as it was to work with my hands, I'm not sure that I really quenched the thirst I had.

Before I read this article I sat at my computer for eight hours staring at photoshop creating web design mocks. It was a productive day, but at the end of it I still felt I hadn't really created anything. Maybe I'm beginning to feel that web design has lost its charm and that lately all I've been doing is creating the same sites with just a slight tweak to the 960.gs, I'm not sure. But, when my day is over I don't have anything to hold in my hand, and I'm starting to feel that void. Maybe I need an IPad. There is definitely something special about a physical item. holding it in your hand and feeling the texture, it's a satisfying feeling to say I created this. So is this urge to create just simply that I want to build items and put my inner (although not very skilled) craftsman to work? I think it has more to do with simply creating, I think there is a certain amount of innovating that I'm also lacking.

I do a fair amount of talking with some of my friends about new business ideas and possible websites. It seems like everyone I know is actively trying to start something new. It would appear that being able to say "that was my idea," or "I started that," holds just as much awe as being the craftsmen. So I'm starting to wander down all these seemingly divergent thoughts and I'm trying to make sense of it all and really understand what it is I feel lacking. What I have reasoned is that I want to be involved. Yeah I'm on Twitter and Facebook, but the involvement I'm talking about is at a more fundemental level than using the products, I want to be involved with the creation, innovation of the tools of society.

Ok, so I design websites and people use these websites as "tools" to accomplish goals, so why am I not satisfied. I think deep down its that I want to create something that insights real change beyond the task at hand. I aspire to change the way we will approach some aspect of our lives, at least until someone discovers a better way to do it.

In the end I've said a lot, but not that much. I know I have the urge to create, but how I will satisfy it, well if I knew that I wouldn't have written this.