things I did in October instead of dinking around on the Internet:
- listened to a baseball game on the radio while making a pot of lentil stew
- reworked my personal website (I think that counts)
- developed a new workshop and then decided not to teach it (radical private-time protection!)
- tidied my bench at work
- wrote letters and postcards (though admittedly not all the ones I wanted to!)
- made a new friend
- drew in my notebook
- read 9+ books
- learned how to make a mix in GarageBand
- devised a list of atypical ways you can tell that it’s raining (people walk funny)
- leaned in very close to the page and watched the ink flow from my pen
- did the dishes
- eavesdropped on the bus (“driver, can you ask the passengers to move to the back so they don’t conjugate around my chair?”)
- paid more attention to the cat
- walked all over
And then, as soon as I was back into it, someone tweeted about this article (the irony makes me chuckle):
What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking and Sacred Space by Scott Belsky. What I found most striking about the piece was his assertion that, by being constantly connected to stimuli, we are depriving ourselves of the creative pause. You know, the way all your best ideas come in the shower (or, for me, when I’m on a long run)? Turns out that’s not coincidence. It’s got more to do with finally being quiet enough to let an idea peek out.
Why do we give up our sacred space so easily? Because space is scary. During these temporary voids of distraction, our minds return to the uncertainty and fears that plague all of us. To escape this chasm of self-doubt and unanswered questions, you tune into all of the activity and data for reassurance.
Our insatiable need to tune into information – at the expense of savoring our downtime – is a form of “work” (something I call “insecurity work”) that we do to reassure ourselves.
…when you allow yourself to just look out the window for 10 minutes –and ponder– your brain will start working in a more creative way. It will grasp ideas from unexpected places.
Nowhere in the article does Belsky say that great ideas happen while we’re playing Farmville.
So, you know, I’m still working on all of this. Having ideas and thoughts. I’m still planning to turn this into a zine (which I will make available along with my other stuff on my superdilettante website – it’s currently undergoing a rehaul), so I don’t want to share everything here. But I’m really enjoying your thoughts on the matter. Don’t be afraid to disagree, either.