Last weekend we had some friends and relatives over and in mid conversation, one of the friends asked me out of genuine curiosity, "Why do you choose to make so many things by yourself? Why don’t you just buy these things, or pay someone else to do it for you?” The best short answer I could come up with at the time was “I just like it.”
The longer answer, and what I wish I’d explained much better, is that DIY projects give me a sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel good to design and create all kinds of things, whether I’m crafting or cooking, styling or decorating. Frankly I’m just one of those people who likes to dream up things in my mind and then make them with my own hands.
I’m not a fine artist or an especially skilled carpenter, but I love working with paint and building things and that makes me a creative. It took me over 30 years to finally acknowledge that fact, but then I realized I possess many of the attitudes of creative people. I believe in reinvention, perseverance, and I have an ongoing curiosity about how things are made.
There’s always a calculation I make before undertaking any DIY project. Do I have the time? Do I possess the skill? Will taking on this project teach me something new? How much money will I save? Will it look good in the end? If you’d asked me ten years ago whether I’d tackle a staircase remodel or install a new stone patio, my answer would have been “Do what? Heck no.” How did I end up taking on those projects? Because I’d read how others had gone before me, I was inspired, and had the desire to learn how.
As a creative, it’s important to surround yourself with people who share your passion so I feed off of the inspiration and knowledge that comes from others in the DIY community. When I read about other creatives using their hands to build something amazing, I can’t help but feel admiration for their skills and DIY savvy, which is why I began the ‘Best of the Blogsophere’ series so many months ago. Not everyone has the time, inclination, or skill to take on major DIY projects, and that’s fine. But I believe those skills can be learned if the ‘can do’ attitude is there.
It frustrates me when I hear people say “I’m not creative.” I don’t agree with that. Every person possesses the innate ability to be creative. The naysayers simply have yet to tap into their creativity. Perhaps they lack confidence. Perhaps they’re afraid they won’t be any good. Mostly I think they just haven’t tried. We’re all creative to one degree or another, it just has to be discovered deep within. Life hasn’t been the same since I tapped into mine.
That’s my long answer. What’s the short answer to the question, “Why do I DIY?”
Do you see yourself as a creative person?
Why do you or don’t you DIY?