Over the last five years, I’ve been working through my DIY insecurities. I’d do a small project, fail, learn from my mistakes, do some more, then move onto bigger projects. At the beginning of 2018, I finally hit my stride—I realized that because I’m not in the lumber industry, I look at things differently. People might say, “That’s not how you do it,” but it is how you do it in DIY. Using conventional things in unconventional ways is part of the creative process. It’s what “make it yours” is all about. Just take a look at our lightsaber post.
At some point, I realized that learning from the ground up is my biggest strength. I still remember how I felt as a beginner six years ago, so I’m able to write a blog that makes sense to people who don’t yet know the lingo or best practices. Now, with six years of experience building DIY projects, I’ve discovered that my true passion—and the purpose of the Dunn DIY blog—is explaining the basics in depth for beginners. Because the truth is, the people who watch YouTube videos on how to use a drill probably aren’t the people who pick up a drill and say, “I can figure this out.” They’re probably approaching DIY with some timidity and caution and are in need of encouragement, just like I was.
Throughout the process of developing Dunn DIY, I’ve continually thought back to how I felt six years ago, trying to gear the content toward the person I was then. My goal is to be to others what I wish someone had been for me: someone who understood that I was an absolute beginner, talked to me like I was an absolute beginner (without being patronizing), and explained things in a way I could understand. I wanted to learn from someone relatable, but no one was—even the people who were excited about what I was doing weren’t always very helpful. In so many cases, the people who tried to teach me gave me 300 instructions when I needed 100. Which generally made me feel stupid for not knowing more.
Some people who get into DIY or woodworking dive in head-first and go from knowing nothing to being semi-pro within a year. As much as I think that’s awesome, those people really intimidate me and make my achievements feel pathetic by comparison. I’ve always made it a goal not to exceed a certain skill level (or tool level) in Dunn DIY—I don’t want to become so advanced that I stop being relatable or that the projects I’m doing stop being achievable for people who are starting out. That’s why I’ve stuck with a pretty small group of power tools and a relatively basic set of skills, and I haven’t branched out to carving bears out of tree trunks. I want to provide a clear pathway to getting started and show people that they can do anything I can do, without thousands of dollars of investment or learning a ton of specialized skills.
As we head into 2020, I’m excited about how far we’ve come and where we're going. When I first started Dunn DIY, I constantly felt like I needed to be doing bigger, more impressive projects, like remodeling an entire house from the ground up. But along the way, I realized that’s not the point of Dunn DIY. DIY is about inspiring and empowering the people who haven’t picked up a tool yet and never thought they could build a piece of furniture for their home. I learned that what I really cared about wasn’t becoming an expert in everything—it was bringing people along on the journey I’ve already been on.
I hope that you can take the first step of your journey. Whether you’re starting from scratch or are ready to tackle your next big project, I hope to be a relatable, trusted friend for you as you figure it out. I want to answer all of your questions before you even have them. My goal is to give you the tools you need to know what you’re doing, to be comfortable not knowing what you’re doing, to be excited that you don’t know, and to have the confidence to overcome your doubts.
Here’s to the year (and projects) ahead!