Monday, January 3, 2011

Making Monday in 2011

Given that a number of people have joined us recently and the tradition that the beginning of a new year is a time for reflection and renewal, I thought it a good time to reintroduce each daily theme and ask for your comments. What would you like see more of? What might be improved?

Making Monday

At first glance, the concepts of making look more like an exercise in philosophy than practical advice. And in part, I stand guilty as charged: I've come to believe that the way you approach a project lays a foundation that colors everything about the project. Put another way, even though the Laws of Making are abstract, they have critical practical consequences.

Whether we're talking about writing, sculpting, coding, or composing, making is an ethically charged undertaking. Through the application of time, matter, and energy, you transform one thing into another. In addition to the direct costs, you also incur opportunity costs: generally, once something has been made, it can't be unmade. The ethical questions all fall under, "Why?" What are your motives and intentions? The Laws of Making help keep you on the right side of the line between makers and users.

Making Monday in 2011

Last year was devoted to laying out the conceptual ground work and discussing the Laws of Making. This year I plan to explore the practical implications of each of the Laws of Making with examples from writing as well as other creative endeavors. I want to show that the principles are both general and effective. I'd like to make this exploration more of a discussion, so I welcome and encourage questions and comments about making.

Writing, of course, will continue to be the center of gravity. The worst writers are users who use the tricks of the trade to compel you to buy stories about hollow worlds, devoid of truth or beauty. The best writers are makers who conjure new narrative worlds where we can see truths more clearly than in the confusing world of our common experience.

What do you think? Does this sound like a good use of our time together on Mondays? Are there any topics related to making you'd like me to explore?

Image: Bill Longshaw /