Creativity and Time Management

April 28, 2013 at 5:32 am | Posted in Books, Quotations | Leave a comment
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I’m working on a commissioned book (more on that another time), I have a four day a week writing job already plus I go routinely to the library and borrow the books I’ve reserved and try to find the time to read them before their due date. Some of the books relate to the commissioned book, but many don’t. Hmmm … most don’t. Is my ambition to read the following list of books within three weeks an unrealistic commitment of my time?

A Spirit of Play by David Malouf
Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers
Car Sick: Solutions for our car-addicted culture by Lynn Sloman
In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honorée
The Engagement by Chloe Hooper
and also a captivating book I bought at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide, Paul Klee for Children by the beautifully named Silke Vry.

I didn’t buy Paul Klee for Children for a child. I bought it for me. It is a fabulous book about creativity. I’ve always thought that it’s the child in me that creates. One needs that spirit of play, to let go and take risks, to have a holiday from that habitual state that our society forces us into most of the time, the right-brained, logical, linear approach to life.

To answer the question above about unrealistic assessments of what I can do in a given time, I probably can read that number of books in three weeks because of the spectacular inefficiency of the Canberra public transport system or at least the bus routes by which I have to travel to work. I could look at the scenic tour of the eight suburbs the No 2 bus meanders through while en route to Deakin West, or I can use that time to read. (Car Sick by Lynn Sloman is about English transport conditions; if you want to read about Australian conditions and solutions, read anything by Paul Mees. Fantastic writer and creative thinker.)

Knowing that most people drive, however, I realise that it’s a problem finding time to read, let alone time to be a child and to paint or write or do other creative things. I find it difficult myself to be as creative as I’d like to be, so this following little parable is a case of ‘Do what I say, not Do what I do’. The story of Big Rocks makes it clear what we have to do if we are serious about squeezing our creative pursuits into our too-busy, too-full, frenetic lives.

Big Rocks

A man teaching a class had a wide-mouthed jar, which represented the amount of time per week – or day. He filled the jar with big rocks.
‘Is it full?’ he asked his class.
‘Yes,’ they answered.
‘No.’ He filled it with gravel. ‘Is it full now?’
‘Maybe,’ the class answered.
‘No.’ He filled it with sand.
‘Is it full now?’
‘Probably not,’ the class answered.
‘Correct.’ And he filled it with water.

If you don’t put the big rocks in first, they will never fit into the jar because it will be full of small things. What you must decide is: What are your big rocks?”

L. K. Ludwig. Creative Wildfire. Mass., Quarry, 2010.

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