Dan Wineman shared a profound insight on Twitter:
You say “looks like somebody has too much time on their hands” but all I hear is “I’m sad because I don’t know what creativity feels like.”
In place of “creativity” Wineman might have as easily said “persistence.” I found Wineman’s quote in a post by Dan Meyer responding to criticism of his research projects.
I’ve said that someone has too much time on their hands, but not since I read Meyer’s post. I see now that the phrase is often a sour grapes response to creativity. I don’t want to do that anymore.
When we see that someone has spent a thousand hours on a project that we think was a frivolous, it’s easy to say “what a waste of time.” We think how much good could have been done with that same amount of effort. But what was the realistic alternative? If that same person had spent a thousand hours in front of their television instead, no one would ever know and no one would ever criticize them. Instead, they created something.