Just before the new year I got to revisit my past. My friend Rob and I went to a ska show, something that I spent a lot of time doing, oh, about 20 years ago. Mustard Plug, a stalwart Michigan band from back in the day, was on their 25th-Anniversay tour and stopped in Chicago. I spent a Wednesday night staying out too late, jumping around, and pretending to be a lot younger than I really am.
On the way there we were talking about how much technology is available today for kids to record music. I remember renting an 8-track deck and microphones to record demos in the basement of my apartment. These days you can just plug a mic into your iPad and have a full suite of recording tools available. Don’t get me started on how much easier it is to make band posters: I had to literally cut and paste clip art onto our first ones.
But I’m not sure if people are creating more with all of these tools. There isn’t an explosion of high school bands out there, and that’s too bad. It’s not just the kids, though. Too many of us aren’t creating with all of these new tools.
Our inner critic will often stop us from trying something new or different, or we realize that it’s easier to just sit in front of the TV or Facebook. Why should we focus on creation when we can just consume?
Life is short and ephemeral, one of the ways we can put our stamp on it is to create something new. It doesn’t have to last forever. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. In fact, it’s OK if it’s not even that good. What’s important: first something didn’t exist, then it did. And you made that happen. It was an awesome feeling when we held our first demo tapes, and then our first CDs.
You might not be a musician in a band. You might not have a blog. That doesn’t mean you can’t create. Put a bit of yourself into something this week. Write an article, write a poem, make a website, paint a picture, paint a room, build an IKEA desk, record a song, make a scrapbook, code a computer program, knit a scarf, edit together a family video. Just make something.
What you create isn’t important. That it gets made, or even that the attempt is made, is.
Enjoy the act of creating!