Why I Make Things

A sub-500 word essay I wrote for school. The content echoed a lot of what I’ve written so far, so I decided that it can belong here, as well.

~

Every day, I make it a point to make something. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy; often, what I make in a day is nothing more than a piece of a larger project, or a few notes for some story or artwork that collects dust on a shelf or a hard drive. I’m not entirely sure why I do this. Like everyone else, I have my down days, where I’d want to do nothing but just lie around or sleep.

Still, even on those days, I am compelled to make things. I just find the entire creative process to be incredibly beautiful.

Okay, maybe it’s not so beautiful looking at it. Creating is actually a very clumsy, somewhat painful-looking process. I often have no idea what I’m doing. Nobody has any idea what they’re doing at first, and the learning process is…messy, at best. Lots of trial and error.

In my short lifetime, I’ve broken a lot of things. More than I’ve made, that’s for certain. Like the time I accidentally sawed a wooden catapult in half. Or the time I tried to release a game, only to realize that I’d swapped the endings by mistake. Or that other game that I started and failed to finish, namely because I programmed in a memory leak that nearly exploded my laptop.

It’s easy to get disillusioned, and I do sometimes. A lot of times. I look back on my work, and realize just how far I have to go. The stories I write are decent, but not quite good, and I’m probably copying others a little too much. I take a look at the games I make, the artwork, the sculptures, and realize that they are simply collecting dust on a shelf or a hard drive. A lot of what I start never gets finished, and let’s not talk about the multiple failures and broken things I’ve left along the way.

And even if I do finish something, well, that’s all there is to it. I’m not hoping to become rich or famous, and sooner or later, the work that I do falls meaninglessly. Most of the work that humans do is meaningless eventually.

But still, the process in itself is beautiful. Despite how difficult it is to learn something, we continue to try to change the world – and the world has changed so many times over.

It’s still a bunch of trial and error, and a whole lot of that creation ends up being a whole lot of nothing, but it is still beautiful in a strangely clumsy, admirable way. For me to be even a tiny part of this beauty, to just make a little thing each day, that is enough. Even if it’s something beyond what I can reach right now, something that I have to keep learning about and being frustrated about for the rest of my life.

There is no feeling greater than being able to look upon something, whether it is a piece of written work, or a painting, or even a house, and being able to say, “I built that.”

 

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