“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.”
This quote, attributed to John Lennon, will resonate with many creatives, especially writers. For some, myself included, writing seems to lend itself to procrastination (a wonderful word!). When you are exploring creative ideas, no time is ever wasted, since your mind is always active, always filtering possibilities, even if subconsciously.
But when you put off writing by doing some other, apparently unrelated task, it can lead to feelings of guilt and frustration. That you have wasted that precious commodity which we label “time.” We are taught that time should be used productively. We segment and categorise time into minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years.
I’ve always had a problematic relationship with time, resenting the way it dictates how we organise our lives. As a child and teenager, I railed against clocks, which may explain my poor timekeeping. (The expression “keeping” time is strange, it being a fluid concept that cannot be stopped or controlled. As the saying goes, “time waits for no man.”)
We are ruled by clocks. Society assumes that our time should be earmarked and that most of it (and our lives) should be spent on work, doing a paid job. And then, if any of it is left, (which we call “spare time”) we fill it with hobbies or leisure pursuits. So it is all used up. Time is a commodity and spare time is a luxury, a privilege. Does this belief system make any sense?
Having worked for an employer for most of my life, I have had to find ways to build in more time to write. For many years, this involved some very early mornings and writing most weekends and evenings. I frequently complained to anyone who would listen that there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. Yet, when, for a brief period, I did actually have some unscheduled time, how ironic that I was unable to motivate myself to produce anything worthwhile. Maybe, for some, working under pressure to a deadline, whether external or self-imposed, assists the creative process. So perhaps we can use the segmenting of time to our advantage.
Art forms such as music and film exist and move through and with time, whereas painting and writing can freeze time to create a snapshot, like a photograph.
Strangely, as you grow older, time goes faster, or so it seems. A panic sets in, that life is slipping away, and the need to create and produce becomes more urgent. Or are these just the ramblings of an ageing, fifty year old writer?
Only time will tell……
By Jane Ayres