“You have too much time on your hands” may be the worst possible reaction to any creative endeavor.
Today, we have greater ability to create new things than ever before. You can create photo montages set to music or even create your own movie. You can influence people on the other side of the world with your ideas. You can learn the basics of a musical instrument or a language by watching instructional videos on your phone. Companies are easier to start.
Yet, many people, when they see that you have set aside time to engage in a creative process of some sort, will say “you have too much time on your hands”.
I have heard this many times, and it never fails to annoy me.
When people say this to you, they are not making an observation about how you are spending your time, but making an excuse for how they aren’t spending theirs. They are saying that you have not conformed to their narrow definition of productivity.
Sure, there are those who spend all their time creating for themselves and none of it producing anything for anyone else. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you.
The truth is this: we all are busy. Yet amidst our hectic schedules lie small slices of time that we can fill up however we wish. It is within those time slices that creativity can happen.
Why don’t some people create anything? I think one reason is that just as we outsource all sorts of commercial and personal tasks these days, we also outsource creativity to professionals. We let the people in our digital music service entertain us with music, rather than making any ourselves. We read somebody else’s writing and think “I could never write like that”, so we don’t.
But here is a powerful idea that empowers you to be creative right now: while it is important to create, it is not necessary to be any good.
Make bad music. Write bad poetry. Dangle your modifiers.
To those who have been told they have too much time on their hands: don’t let the skeptics bring you down.
To those who say “you have too much time on your hands” to others: stop immediately and find time in your own schedule to create something.
You are not a machine put on this earth to answer emails and watch television.
Be human. Create something.
Also published on Medium.