Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Busy or Not?

Several people have commented that blog posts have a direct relationship to free time available. I'd like to point out that time is not free. Time is limited and, as with almost any choice, one's use of time involves trade-offs. Nothing is free if you forego something else to choose it.

People who are not busy blog. Very busy people also blog. The only way to determine whether a blogger is "busy" or "not busy" is to examine his or her use of time. I don't believe "busyness" is something Google or the National Security Agency can determine. In fact, I don't believe I can determine whether X is or is not "busy," although I might develop an opinion based on my own prejudices and priority decisions.

Looking at today, June 12, for example, if I had to answer the question, I would say I've been "busy." I did not devote the entire day, or 8 hours of it, to the work I get paid for doing. I chose instead to run, freeze peas, weed garden beds, eat, read a little bit in "A Forager's Harvest," work on a book update for a few hours, and a few other things. Other days this year I have allocated as much as 16 hours to the work I get paid for doing, yet I would not say I was "busier" those days than I was today. Even on some of those days, I blogged.

So let me offer an alternative explanation. Blog posts depend on the time one chooses to make available for blogging. Today, after a day full of other activities, I decided to relax for a few minutes and write this blog post. On another day, I might have chosen instead to read part of a book, play piano, work on a poem or story, walk around the field, or sit on the front porch. Obviously, blogging is not something I must do.

Most days, even on days I'd call "busy" days, I choose to use at least an hour for writing, and I don't mean writing I get paid for doing. I mean worthless, self-indulgent writing. Of course, it's not really worthless or useless. I dream that some day people will pay to read it. But even if they don't, it's an essential, useful part of my life.

"What is this, an apologia for time-wasting?" says Virginia.

Of course, she's an artist who knows better.


  1. Busy is a state of mind! We're all spending the same amount of time doing something, all the time, even if it's "nothing."

    Thanks for the apologia--I am using it to be lazy today ;)

  2. mary pannabecker steinerJune 14, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    James, as you know, I too was a recipient of that comment and I'm still trying to understand the meaning of it. I don't think I'm any busier than anyone else nor do I think I'm any lazier. We all have our own perspectives on "busyness." Blogging-wise, I'm least productive when I have lots of time on my hands (i.e. last week's vacation). Wonder why that is? Thanks for the blog idea. Maybe I'll use yours as a take-off for my next one....Love you. M