Monday, November 16, 2009

How writing is like being a cow, kind of . . .

I enjoyed this bit of an article a lot as a creative person.

The best example of this third kind of time wasting is a cow. A cow is a miracle on four legs, producing milk that fuels all kinds of people. But if you look carefully at a cow through the day, it looks remarkably unproductive. It spends hours chewing and then re-chewing. It takes less than five minutes to download the milk that it took 24 hours to produce.

But when you're creating milk, you just can't make it go any faster. There are limits in the creativity game.

If you are going to create, you need some time to chew the grass and stare into space.

In my experience, the more creative people are, the more space-staring they need to do. You can make instant coffee. But milk takes time.

For me, production-enhancement time wasting usually involves some activity that I love just for its own sake. I read history. I go to the ocean and stare at the waves. I do a crossword puzzle. I call up a friend. I put a fire in the fire pit outside. I play the piano.

What do you do?


  1. I spend a fair amount of time nursing the baby. I am like a cow, too.

  2. That is hilarious. :) You are wonderful, Liz.

    My older sister felt the same way. Once when their baby didn't want to finish a bottle of milk that had been pumped, her husband explained to the baby, "If Mommy's going to play cow, we can't waste this."