Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Would writing a book be wasting my time?

Last month, I ordered and read the latest J.K. Rowling detective novel: The Ink Black Heart. That book has more than a thousand pages. Once again, I failed the whodunnit. Interestingly, she shares her thoughts on inspiration on the top of page 228 (hardcover). Her and my thoughts align.

Despite having written almost 3,000 blogs during 2014-2022, I have no idea how to write a fiction novel. Sometimes, inspiration comes to me for writing a fictional story. Recently, I started making notes of such ideas. Still, that’s it. It’s not even work in progress. Just a note in my smartphone.

My question is both simple and complex: why can’t I write a fictional story?

Several decades ago, an audit partner reviewed my draft letter to a client. He was not pleased (eg, too much use of could). He was right. He forced me to write my advice on one A4. He was pleased with the result and advised me to take the concept of less is more to heart.

The Less = More concept is indeed very useful for writing my blogs. However, it also blocks me in writing a novel, in which more (eg, pages, words) is deemed better. Apparently, size does matter (sic!). In April 2016, I started writing a book but each chapter became a “blog” and a flow was missing.

There might be other explanations though.

I doubt that I have the talent for writing a fictional novel. To be honest, I also had those same doubts in 2014. My then-girlfriend urged me to start writing to heal my wounded soul, following a 4-year divorce battle. For months, I doubted myself. I was wrong back then and perhaps now again.

There’s also fear when it comes to (fictional) details, like specific descriptions of people, places, plots, and situations. I prefer to zoom out to gain a macro perspective because everything follows Why, including whodunnits. I’m afraid that a micro focus will prevent me from seeing the forest for the trees.

Last but certainly not least, writing a book seems like wasted time to me. It would prevent me from writing about stuff that does matter. My writer’s aim is opening eyes, transfer of knowledge, and learning / teaching in general, but not entertainment.

Some (ir)relevant quotes:

  • The only value of wasted time is knowledge. Monica Drake
  • Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. Harvey Mackay
  • There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. Michelangelo
  • Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent. Carl Sandburg
  • A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. Charles Darwin

Wasted Time (1976) by Eagles
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album

[Chorus 1]
You never thought you’d be alone
This far down the line
And I know what’s been on your mind
You’re afraid it’s all been wasted time

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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  1. Anne Marie Jovic

    You own your own time so it’s up to you how to spend it, and if used well it’ll never be wasted… to define use well again a personal matter..

    “I know that I know nothing” is a saying derived from Plato’s account of the Greek philosopher Socrates: “For I was conscious that I knew practically nothing…” (Plato, Apology 22d, translated by Harold North Fowler, 1966).


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