How much of your day is spent waiting or doing what author George Leonard calls “in-between?”
In between moments are the ones we spend being idle, either physically or creatively. We wake up and get dressed, eat breakfast, and hurry to work or school. We spend hours of our days waiting in line, in traffic, or behind a desk or screen. Most encounters we have throughout the day are fleeting glances, half-hearted smiles, or routine conversations we’ve been through a dozen or so times.
What we need to do, George Leonard explains in his book Mastery, is find ways of making even our idle moments of in-between part of our creative or artistic practice.
Those who are the most successful have found a better way to manage their moments of in-between by doing just this.
This helps explain why creatives are the ones who explore outside their heads, because they have so much going on inside of it they have to get out.
We can use any part of our idea as source for inspiration, motivation, or problem solving. To spark ideas on how we can make those moments more meaningful we simply need to first have a goal, then use a sytem of reminders (sticky notes, a repetitive alarm on your phone, the wallpaper on your computer, or some other means) for utilizing every in-between moment as one of inspiration.
By paying attention to all of the details in a given moment, or to use the world around us as inspiration for our art, poetry, music, or even business ideas, is one way to make even the most idle times (like a useless meeting at work) into something we can turn around into effective inspiration.
The artist who paints with her mind while she is away from the canvas is the artist whose brush finds a way when she sits down to paint. A writer who mentally “writes” when he is away from his computer or a pad of paper is the one who has words to put on the page when the time comes to physically write.
Illustration by Alberto Badalamenti via Behance.