juggling jobsFor a number of years, I was busy 24/7 starting an association for writers and editors and then trying to keep ahead of the landslide I’d created.

Don’t get me wrong. It was great. Well, maybe not “all,” but most of it. And I’m very glad I did what I did. But there was one distinct drawback.

I was so busy juggling a variety of things and stretching myself by doing things I’d never done before that there was virtually no time for me to relax and simply “be.” When I did have downtime, my creative energy was usually non-existent. While I managed to do some writing, it was generally very focused and along the lines of press releases and other promotional pieces.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

What I needed wasn’t an activity, but the exact opposite. I needed time to replenish my creative juices. How do I do that? By having time to do nothing!

I remember when we were in our first year of homeschooling. Other parents I talked to would shake their heads and say they felt a bit guilty because their kids rarely had any free time. They went to school all day and then had swimming, gymnastics, music lessons, soccer, art classes… after school, in the evenings, and on the weekends.

My sons had school in the morning, then free time in the afternoon before gymnastics, swimming, etc. started. They had time to play Lego, listen to music, read books, make crafts, or, if they chose, do absolutely nothing. They had time to be bored, and they had time to figure out what they wanted to do without having someone telling them what they should do. And my sons, as adults, look back on that time and tell me it was good.

But I hadn’t had that kind of “nothing to do” time in a long while. And I needed to schedule some. But how often do adults schedule time to do nothing (and allow ourselves to feel no guilt in doing it)?

Ecclesiastes 3:5 says we need “a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them…”

The image grabs me. I love walking aimlessly along a beach doing nothing except gathering stones and maybe skipping some of them on top of the water. At the same time, I can think and plan and pray, and maybe tap into what is inside me.

I plan to do some of that “nothing” and write about it here. I hope you’re able to schedule some time to do “nothing” too.

January 7, 2008

About the author 

N. J. Lindquist

N. J. Lindquist is the award-winning author of books, articles, short stories, and blog posts. She also edits and publishes the "Hot Apple Cider" anthologies. A former high school teacher, N. J. co-founded The Word Guild and teaches workshops for writers as well as speaking on various topics including creativity and leadership.

  • Good for you! Doing not-a-lot and then blogging about it is a ton of fun – although it can become its own tyrant.

    Nice new home for your blog too. (Although blogger now does have categories too, doesn’t it. They’re called ‘labels’ – I think they’re basically the same thing.)

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Click on one of these covers to get a Gift from me!

    And you'll also get my occasional newsletter.