Just Wasting Time?

art supplies


I was going to start this post by confessing I haven’t written anything. But as I reflected on the last couple of months, I realized this was a big fat lie. Among other things, I’ve revised chapters of a novel, written articles for my freelance clients, and kept a journal. I count e-mails and social media posts as “writing,” too.

So I’ve done a lot more than I thought. Maybe you have, too?

Revised opening sentence: I haven’t written as much as usual. I haven’t been filling my free hours with words.

I’m not blocked. I enjoy the writing when I do it. But I don’t have much to give right now, as I continue to move through a season of transition.

Instead, I’ve spent hours working on an art project. I am NOT an artist. This isn’t something I’ll ever enter in a contest or even hang on my living-room wall—it was pure therapy.

I needed to get away from words for awhile, get away from the pressure to create Something Worthwhile with Lasting Value. I needed to waste some time and putter.

Many of you have heard me talk about the poet Lucille Clifton, who also went through periods of not writing much. The times of low output bothered her at first, until she realized she was taking in rather than giving out. She needed both the low tides and high tides to achieve balance.


Everyone’s creative cycles look different, but we all have rhythms, and we do ourselves a favor by honoring them.


If you’re embarrassed that your novel isn’t coming along like you hoped—or the novel is still just a beautiful cloud inside your own head—there’s no need to duck and hide behind the Easter candy display if you glimpse me at Walmart. Believe me, I understand. I’ve been there. I’m there right now.

I trust that when the time is “write,” I’ll make space in my life to crank out more words again. And so will you.

Until then, let’s enjoy the ride, encourage each other, and do whatever it is we need to do to feed our spirits.