Tobin Hart, in his book THE FOUR VIRTUES, defines “creation” as “harnessing the capacity to take action.”  Everything can “do” stuff….it’s why we’re here on the planet, apparently.  (Even rocks and dirt can “do” stuff.)

What turns doing into creating is what Making is all about:  a purposeful directing of energies that brings something new into existence.

Piling a bunch of rocks into a heap is doing.  Taking that same pile of rocks and turning it into a wall for a house, a taro paddy, or a fort…that’s creating.  Creation has an effect on the world.  And it requires some kind of mind to harness the doing energy purposefully.

The mind doesn’t necessarily have to be human.  After all, birds and wasps can build nests.  The main thing that differentiates human Making from animal Making seems to be the sheer volume of different things humans set out to make.

Humans are more likely to just play with the materials at hand in new and different ways to produce an extraordinary variety of often-useless objects that become a new part of the world.

Humans also tend to imbue their creations with extraneous meanings, making up stories that we call “voice” and “vision” to the things.  I suppose that’s also a part of Making.  Hmmm….

Here’s a TEDxBedford talk by David Litchfield who is a teacher at Bedford College as well as a professional illustrator who does work for The Beano and the Telegraph among other publications.

His talk, How Doing a Drawing a Day Changed My Life, is a perfect illustration of what comes of Making…the building of a whole new mindset and a whole other world to inhabit.  To my mind, that is Making at its finest.

Here’s a poem for all the ones who back away saying, “Oh, I’M not creative.”:


I always have to giggle

When people tell me,

“Oh, I’m not Creative.”

I wonder whether they’re thinking

They are dumb-ass zombies,

Shuffling dull-eyed through the world

Losing bits of themselves, all unaware,

Like a pigeon dumping a load

On some old statue’s head

Without even noticing.


I want to shake them, you know.

I want to slap their heads.

I mean, WOW!

I want to tell them,

“Don’t you know?

Don’t you understand?

You’re human, dude!

You were born a Maker….

The evidence is all around you!”


Here we are…all us Makers

And don’t we spend our days Making?

Making do…

Making trouble…

Making excuses…

Making right…

Making wrong…

Making, making, making.

And now you’re trying to tell me

The flow of the Creative

Detours around you?



by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  JUMP IN by H. Michael Miley via Flickr [CC BY-SA  2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

22 thoughts on “DOING VS MAKING

  1. Great poem, and awesome article! This poem really spoke to me. So often do I toil over whether or not I’m doing enough in the world rather than just being a consumer. This poem really spoke to me on a personal level because it reminded me that even when I don’t feel I have much to create I can still be creative. An artist can create something from nothing, and that’s not just doing, that’s making!

    1. Hey Patrick:

      Thanks for your visit and your comment. I am glad the poem resonated with you. Please do come again!

  2. Netta, we all create but don’t realise it….by writing, by cooking, by talking(we’re creating communication),by taking pictures, by reading or doing something,w e are creating a memory! We are creative, just don’t realise it. All children love to draw. As we grow older, we choose to stop.


    1. Hey, Greg: Of course, you’re right….

      Thanks for the visit and your comment. Please come again.

  3. Derek Marshall says:

    Hi there,

    That is very deep and philosophical, almost questions the meaning of life and why we are here. We are here to find our lifes purpose and that is to create, create a better world to live in, to create a better future of our kiddies!

    The video is indeed a very nice addition.

    1. Hey Derek: Thank you for your visit and comments. Please do come again!

  4. YourVirtualCareer says:

    Your analogy on doing vs making is awesome. As humans, we all have a creative side however many people don’t want to explore that side of them. They are too busy making excuses why they aren’t creative instead of embracing the fact that somewhere deep inside lies their creativity. I use to feel the same way until I acted upon it and now I love the new me and what I have to offer the world. Great poem and I love the meaning behind it.

    1. Hey Stephanie: Thanks for your visit and your comment. I agree…it’s a heck of a lot more fun when you claim your Maker-ness. Keep on! And, please, do come again….

  5. Your poem is very true. Many of us walk the earth like zombies unaware of how things slowly erase our creavity. Even work can, if you let it, remove who you really are and ruin who you could become. That is powerful. Your poem is a wake up call. After reading it I decided to concentrate more on my own writing and less on other “work.”

    1. Hey Julian:

      Thanks for the visit.  I’m so pleased that the post encourages you to do more of your own.  Good fortune on your journey.

      Please do come again….

  6. Riaz Shah says:

    well said Netta,

    I would say that I’m a maker but it wouldn’t be right, I think in order to achieve great success you have to be both a maker and a doer, wouldn’t you agree? You need to make your own path to success but you also need to be a doer in order to put in the effort and get things done to finish what you’re making. 

    1. Hey Riaz:  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  “Making,” to my mind, is purposeful doing.  We are ALWAYS doing, after all (even when we think we are doing nothing).  

      You do make a most important point, however.  Starting stuff and finishing what you start is a key factor in achieving any kind of success.  Good one!

      Please do come again….

  7. Ha Ha, love this poem as it is so true of human nature. It is so accurate though when it talks about humans being makers as we just need to look around us to see that fact.

    The problem is that some of us are more industrious than others and we are not all equal. We also all prefer to do different things or make different things. The real problem comes in when humans don’t do anything at all to better themselves or the world around them.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Michel.

      You’re right, I think.  It isn’t so much doing and making that can be problematic.  Us humans do and make stuff all the time.  Some of us forget to consider the results we are getting out of all that.  

      Please do come again.

  8. Great poem, and awesome article! That is very deep and philosophical, this poem really spoke to me on a personal level because it reminded me that even when I don’t feel I have much to create I can still be creative. An artist can create something from nothing, and that’s not just doing, that’s making!
    The video is indeed a very nice addition. Your poem is a wake-up call. After reading it I decided to concentrate more on my own writing. Great work.

    1. I’m glad that the post had an impact on you, nasrin.  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  9. Hi Netta,

    This is a very inspirational article, thank you! 

    I don’t consider myself a poet but I do love writing. And your message, that we all have creativity in us – if we MAKE the time really struck home with me.

    And David Lichfield’s story emphasizes it eloquently. The one thing that none of us makes very well is TIME to do what we enjoy. But when we do it can change our lives.

    I’ll be reading the rest of your articles with great interest.

    Thank you again


    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Adrian.  I’m glad the post was helpful to you.  

      I agree that it can be a difficult thing to make the time for what we enjoy doing.  At the same time, we are always being told these days that the road to $ucce$$ is following our passion.  

      Since our “passion” is the stuff that we enjoy doing, it seems to me that making time for those things should be an important priority.  Hmmm….

      Please do come again.

  10. Antarctic Adventures says:

    I heard Earl Nightingale once say that the one thing that separates man from a pig or a horse is his mind. And what a truth that is. Our mind can take us anywhere we want to go.  

    The question is, are we willing to do it? 

    We are all creative and we all have the potential and gift inside of us. 

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing the Nightingale thought, Antarctic Adventures.  You’re right.  That is a shiny truth, isn’t it?

      Please do come again.

  11. I feel the same way. I want to slap those dumbasses right in the face, too. Slap them infinitely until some sense gets knocked into them. Slap them with knowledge and learning, and understanding. 

    Because, indeed, we are Makers. We are here to create. That’s our purpose. 

    As you said it, it’s all about bringing new and exciting things into existence. Things that didn’t exist before but things that will help others live more fully, more joyfully, and help be more excited about life. 

    I loved the message. I loved the poem. Cheers. 🙂

    1. Matiss, your comment just makes me smile and smile!  Thank you!

      Please do come again….

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