Tag Archives: writers

Creativity is the Residue of Time Wasted

quotables buttonCreativity is the residue of time wasted.

– Albert Einstein*

Sometimes time wasted is just time wasted. And sometimes time wasted ends up being creativity.

Why is this? Well, creativity is a funny thing. You don’t always know where you’re going to end up when you start. You might find yourself in a lot of dead ends before you get somewhere interesting. And so your endless scribbling at your desk, or your doodling, or your songwriting might look a lot like time wasted to everyone else.

This is the difficult thing about creativity, and it’s part of the reason the arts are called both a ‘waste of time and money’ AND essential to humanity. The process for creating art is not standard in the way the scientific method is standard. A lot of what’s produced might looked like garbage, or time wasted. And throwing money at the arts does not necessarily equal creativity (in a neat, positively correlated way, I mean), which frustrates a lot of goal-driven people.

But then, every once in a while, you do get mind-blowing stuff. Which reminds everyone, once again, to give creative people the space they need to create.

For creators, this means learning the balance between wasting time and being productive… gaining an instinct for knowing when to stop doodling and start painting, or stop researching and start writing, or whatever. Sometimes a dead-end is fun and endless entertaining (like writing the missing scenes to Jane Austen’s novels). Which sometimes means you should stick that in your ‘leisure’ time slot instead of your ‘working’ slot.

I, by no means, have figured this out yet. Have you?


*The internet attributes this quote to Albert Einstein. We all know how accurate the internet is 🙂


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Filed under Creativity and Art, Quotables

I Wish I Could Write

writingI wish I could write well.

What do you mean? you say to me. You’ve got a blog. Of course you can write.

But I still wish I could write well.

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you probably noticed I’ve been posting less. It’s not because I’ve run out of ideas. I always have ideas. It’s because I’ve run out of confidence my ideas need to be written.

I can write as well as the average blogger, maybe better than some, and worse than others. I can write short, entertaining little stories that some lovely people shell out money to buy. But is that reason enough to write? I want to write things that make people feel, that contribute to society, that add something to the world. Not change the world, but are more than a momentary distraction.

Because, after all, I read tons of blog posts that I don’t remember the next day. I surf through thousands and thousands of very interesting articles in a month, and when I run across them again later, I don’t remember whether I’ve read them or not. Something needs to be truly great for me to remember it, and for me to see the world differently because of it.

So what is the point of me being another contributor to this infinite stream of information on the web? Why does the world need another slightly charming distraction from the daily grind? Shouldn’t what I write be somehow worthwhile?

There are three types of people in this world. There are people who can’t write, and who look on those who can with awe. There are the vast multitudes of those who can write, varying along a scale from absolute hacks to clever and skillful authors. And then there are those who don’t merely write, but actually write – the difference is almost impossible to describe but obvious to see. They are able to describe something no one else can put into words in a way everyone can relate to. In a way that, when you read it, you’re forced to say – yes, that’s actually how it is. I just never knew how to express it before. And then you go away amazed that other people in this world feel the same way you do.

But sometimes, as I struggle along with the vast multitudes of serviceable writers, the gap between us and these virtuosos of the craft seems so large, so impossible to cross, that it hardly seems worth it to struggle along anymore. Why does the world need another writer to put the mundane into mundane words, when so many writers who do just that already exist? The world needs more virtuosos. And to get to that point – there are no instructions. Each writer is on their own.

So now you know, if you’ve been wondering why this blog hasn’t been updated as much. I apologize for that, if you’ve been looking forward to it. I haven’t lost interest in writing, and I can never lose interest in it. I write because writing gives me the chance to get the words exactly right, in a way just speaking the words never allows me to. Speech is fleeting and gone in a moment, and you can so easily leave the wrong impression without meaning to. Writing gives me the chance to say what I mean. I just hope that someday what I mean will be worth writing.


Update: Curious if I can write? Try one of my short, five-minute reads for free–either a romantic Christmas read (Spring Fever), or a story of unrequited love (Lookin’ Good).


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Filed under On Writing