Thursday, May 9, 2013

Negative Space and Postponing Procrastination

I was talking to my son this morning about how some people at work waste more energy dodging work than doing it, and it got me to thinking about my own life. Now granted, there really aren't enough hours in the day half the time for me to do the day job, struggle through the hair-pulling commute across the Bay to get home, then find something to eat, put in some work on my latest freelance project, and have the creative energy to write a few paragraphs before falling into bed at midnight so I can get up at 6am and start the whole process over. (Whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it).

That being said, like anyone else, there is a certain amount of wasted time in there. I could squeeze in some writing during my lunch break or, like I'm doing with this post right now, downtime at the day job, or god knows instead of that hour or two spaced out in front of the idiot box at night, but there is something to be said for downtime.

Negative space. Time to shut the brain off and let life just happen.

The rest of the world is always telling us that as Americans, we work too hard. That's not to say we get a lot accomplished, because one look our economy would blow that theory right out of the water. But we tie our self-worth to our jobs. When we meet someone, the first thing we ask is "What do you do?" not, "Who are you?" or "What do you like to do?" We're even made to feel guilty or lazy when we're caught doing nothing or, god forbid, unemployed.

And yet, I find my best creativity comes when I'm NOT doing anything. Inspiration, that fickle hussy, always seems to strike in the middle of the night or in the shower or while mowing the lawn or pulling weeds or painting a wall or just laying on the couch watching reruns. It's like the brain disengages from the physical world and sneaks over and opens the door to the Muse. Sneaky, isn't she?

So the next time you're whining about not having the time or desire to write or draw or compose, think about doing nothing for awhile. I think it could catch on.