I’ve been desperate to write a blog. But I’ve been too busy. I’ve not had enough time or space to think of something to write about. It’s an odd notion – to have too many thoughts to think. There are two kinds of busy, it seems. The treadmill, to-do list type, where the very act of work itself consumes you. This is pretty uncreative, but rather than freeing up your creative side, in my case it sucks any ideas I might have into the whirlpool of “doing stuff”. Obviously, things need to be done and often these things don’t really need much in the way of original thinking. Even as a writer, a lot of what I do is process – speaking to people about the project, planning how to make projects easier next time, that kind of thing.
The other type of busy is writer busy, which quite often involves staring into space, chewing over words and spitting them out. Then there’s a little flurry of activity where you can’t type quickly enough to catch your thoughts. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to ride this wave for long enough to produce everything you need. If it’s a longer project, this will never happen, but you can tackle it in bursts. Surfing is probably a good analogy for this, but since I only tried surfing once and I ended up with a mouthful of sand and a board on my head, I won’t pursue it.
You could use skiing, I suppose – a rush of energy, effort and achievement followed by a slow ride back up the mountain. Or, these days, a slow ride up the mountain, followed by a long lunch and a gentle meander down the mountain. Anyway, you take the point.
Writing isn’t a very fashionable kind of work. It doesn’t involve the sort of visual, showy busyness which we’re encouraged to believe constitutes productivity. Of course, we’re notoriously unproductive as a country. We work long hours and produce less than many other countries (including the much-derided Greeks). We’re no happier, richer or healthier for all this sweat and toil. Perhaps it would do us all good if we really thought about how we work and considered whether a bit of staring out of the window might be good for us. For me, being busy means I get less done. I’d be grateful if you remember that if you ever see me looking vacantly into space – I can assure you I’m hard at work.