Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where have you gone, idleness?

Today marked the longest stretch I've gone without writing in over a year. Sure, I did some fiction exercises last week in my workshop, but I was so drained from a gruelling workday that I just went through the motions. And this past weekend was my bachelor party -- hardly conducive to writing. I'm not complaining, really; these are good reasons for not writing. I'm just longing for the time when I had, well, time.

If I'm disciplined, I can always eek out a few pages, no matter how insane my schedule gets. But I'm not missing time to write so much as time to not write. I miss the idle time, where I didn't do much of anything. Not because I'm lazy; idle time is where the ideas incubate. It's where poetry lives, in the moments you're not grasping at it. Because when you're too busy "doing," your soul, as Brenda Ueland put it, "gets frightfully sterile and dry" and "you have not time for your own ideas to come in and develop and gently shine."

I don't know what to do about this problem, other than win the lottery. And now I worry I'm falling into the cycle of thinking that has erased so many would-be writers: I'll wait until work calms down. I'll wait until after the wedding. I'll wait until the kids are grown.
I'll wait.


  1. I completely agree!! Idle time will keep you from forgetting who you are and what mark you want to leave on the world. If you loose it, life will swallow you up and in 10 years you will be asking, "Who am I??" I always set aside a day or an evening a week to be alone with my thoughts. It takes effort, but it's well worth it! Brian, you never know sometimes how you might affect people. Whether it be a random encounter or someone reading your blogs. For years I have wanted to write a children's book. I have a file full of ideas and rough drafts (none finished). You have inspired me to take out that file and finish! So DON'T WAIT! Don't rob the world of your talents :) Christi

  2. Thanks Christi. Good luck with your children's book!

  3. Idle time is good! But I think I've extended my idle time a little too much and now I'm just lazy.