Make something for its own sake

Istock_000002670389xsmall Why do we make the things we do? If you have a business, a blog, a Web site—why do you put the hours in?

I picked up Robert Fritz’s Path of Least Resistance, based on the description from Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA Reading List. It took me some time to get into it, but as I’ve slowly chewed my way through, one idea in particular really jumped out at me.

Creative people make things for the sake of making them
Artists (if they’re any good) make pictures because they want those pictures to exist. Composers make symphonies, bakers make cakes, gardeners make gardens for the same reason.

Many people don’t realize that the same impulse drives nearly all successful entrepreneurs. Really successful businesses are usually useful, exciting, or both. A creative mindset—the mindset that makes a thing because you want that thing to exist—is more likely to make something useful and exciting.

Godin, as usual, is reading my mind
The ideas for this blog post kept me up late last night. So what do I see when I check out Seth’s blog today?

"If I’m doing this for fun (and I am) then I might as well doing something remarkable/great/worth doing. Otherwise, why bother?"

Why does this blog exist?
I started this blog to create awareness for my copyediting and writing business, and to help people—especially people who don’t spend a lot of time surfing the Internet—learn some solid techniques to build stronger connections. I saw a lot of businesses communicating stuff they didn’t mean to. I saw lots of shops and services that provided wonderful value, but no one knew about them.

Also, my two-year-old started Montessori school. Do you know how much Montessori school costs? I could be sending him to Harvard on what I’m paying for brightly-colored "materials" (we’re not allowed to call them toys) and a rousing daily rendition of "The Clean-up Song."

Originally, the blog was intended to serve what Fritz calls a secondary choice. It was going to build wider awareness for my writing business, which supports my primary choice of sending my child to Montessori school.

But somewhere along the line, things shifted a little. I realized the other day that I’ve spent hours building this door without any real idea what’s on the other side.

Which is so much cooler than just raising awareness for a writing business.

If you run your tire store because you really want an amazing tire store to exist where people can get wonderful service and buy exactly the tires that will keep them safer and make driving more fun, you are likely to make a hell of a lot of money. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about other things too—cash flow and balance sheets and getting your taxes right. Of course you do. But you’ve given yourself a gigantic head start.

(By the way)
Sending Cosi to his school probably seems like a secondary choice too—like what I really want is for him to become even brainier than he already is, and to dominate the universe due to his excellent start in life. But the truth is, I just love the school because I love it, and so does he. It’s a funky little school in a great old house right in our neighborhood. The kids are amazing, the environment feels exactly right, the director is smart and she pays attention, and I just want him there because I want him there. That’s what a primary choice looks like.

Look for that feeling—"I want it because I want it." See if you can find something juicy and real there


  1. Stephen says:

    Us creative types also like to make things to make our lives better, richer, more rewarding. Even if it is only of value to us. Great post and thanks for inspiring me to make something new today.

  2. Gil Cunha says:

    This was really helpful. Thank you.

  3. It’s so true that as a creative person you can create for the act of that creation, but even when you think you understand a project’s purpose it often changes. I love this entry (and the blog overall) because it sums up where the creativity meets with the drive for purpose, which is something I see-saw with a great deal.

  4. Sonia,
    I think we have some things in common. TS authenticity thread remarks….hope we get a chance to collaborate.
    All best, Jan

  5. Sonia Simone says:

    Hi Janice, it is great to see you here! I’m pretty excited about TS, hope you are as well. It feels like a very natural step to me.

  6. Daniel Edlen says:

    Well said. At this point I just wish I knew if people were getting excited about my art and what it’s for by my blog posts. I do know that I get excited to come up with something to write about relating to my art.


    Daniel Edlens last blog post..VA™ – Now I Can Merchandise Vinyl Art!


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