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]

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10 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….

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