This is the last in the series from the 2005 blog. The purpose of the blog was to make me write every day, though I failed to maintain ti. Several of the posts explored the creative process — and my creative process in particular. I’m sharing them here in a “blast from the past” series.

Today’s post was originally published on May 31, 2005

Impatience, Time, and Process


Blast from the PastI’m not sure that writing in the morning is good for me. My brain takes a while to wake up, even if the rest of me wakes up fairly quickly (most days). Of course, at night I’m usually tired and my brain has slowed down to the point where following a thought to its conclusion is difficult. Realistically, I think I need to work on increasing my overall energy levels throughout the day and keeping my brain functioning at a higher pace. Maybe I should blame all those months as a loan processor who didn’t have to think, just function.

I seem to be having problems with the creative-thinking still. I know I wrote about it a little bit yesterday, but it’s very resistant. I think Johnna is experiencing some of the same thing. He resumed his artist’s journal a few weeks ago and has been quite diligent about writing every day. However, I haven’t heard him say he has written any new poetry or even articles for his website, etc. I presume he’s writing the reflective/journal-type entries that I’m doing. So if he’s still there after several weeks, I suppose I shouldn’t be so impatient.

I’m reading several books about time: The Practical Dreamer, Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything and Time for Life. I actually read about the latter two in the first. It’s a scary picture, at least to me. I recognized a long time ago that time, itself, is a lie. It’s a construct that society has created in order to function. And, if you read this books, it’s a construct that is running amok — to the point where we don’t even have a realistic idea in our minds how much time we “spend” on things. We think we work longer and sleep less and do more chores, but in reality we’re working fewer hours, sleeping about the same, and doing fewer chores (according to a study published in the 90s based on three decades of data). We just have a skewed vision of what we have to do vs. what we chose to do as well as how much time is actually spent doing it.

I’ve been trying to learn to step out of time more often. Buddhist techniques of focus and breathing help. Watching less television with its impossible timing is even better. I’m reading more books and doing more physical tasks around the house and studying for my outplacement workshops. Still, Faster has some of the shortest sentences, paragraphs, and chapters I have read in my life. While putting primer on a dresser yesterday I realized that using a roller speeds the painting process over a brush, but increases the cleanup time by an equal or greater magnitude. And those computer learning modules for my workshops rarely have more than two paragraphs on a page. Any additional information is put behind bullets so that you have to click an arrow to get them to appear. Is there anything that isn’t designed to make you go faster, or at least to keep you from getting impatient?

The funny thing is that time seems to move slower for me than in my past. I have always heard that the years go by faster as you get older. What a crock. I can look at a clock and think “it’s only X time? Wow, I thought it was later.” You can actually fit a lot of activities into an hour of time (according to a clock). We’ve just sort of turned off our natural clocks and learned to worship the pace of hurry and busy-ness that makes us think we’re filling time, when it’s really keeping us from seeing how empty it can be unless we make an effort to appreciate life and everything in it.

–damn. that sounds rather preachy and it’s not quite what I wanted to say. I could probably extract some of this and write a column/article on time, speed, and busy-ness at some point. And I should take some time in a day or two to re-read this as an example of process.