On my Google calendar on Tuesday nights, I have a recurring event: Make Something.
And unless I’m not home, I normally try to oblige. Maybe I’ll make dinner that’s more than just a pot of rice and steamed veggies. Maybe I’ll put a few more stitches in a scarf I’ve been neglecting. Maybe I’ll doodle while watching TV. And hey, maybe I will just do nothing. But I do try to do SOMETHING.
It is so easy just to not make something. Life and inertia has a spectacular way of making it much easier to just binge watch “Bob’s Burgers” and fall asleep upon returning home from work rather than drag out your art supplies and go to town. And hey, “Bob’s Burgers” is awesome, and sometimes you need that sweet, sweet TV time to rest and recuperate; this is not a rebuke against a good Netflix binge.
But too often, I think a lot of people don’t make things because they think you have to be a capital-A Artist to make things. Or maybe they get “blank page paralysis” and can’t get a thing onto the page. For whatever reason, there are a lot of people out there who are not making things simply because they think they can’t or they shouldn’t.
Amanda Palmer’s “Ukulele Anthem” puts this better than I ever could: stop pretending art is hard.
Obviously it takes years of study and no small amount of natural aptitude to paint/draw/knit/play something that is objectively “good”. Making art that requires real technical skill is definitely something that is learned through endless repetition, practice, and improvement.
But just making art? Putting a pen to paper, stringing a bead on a wire, brainstorming a short story? Making art is for everyone. Whether it’s the first time you’re ever picking up a paintbrush or the five-hundredth, you’re making a thing that didn’t exist before with only your imagination and some tools.
That’s pretty awesome!
So maybe next time you’re at home and feeling a little bored, think about making an art. You’ll probably be glad that you did.