What Fidget Spinners Can Teach Us About Writing


by Christopher Slater

Ok. I have to confess this. I’m sure that it will change many people’s opinions of me, but it must be said. I have a fidget spinner. There I said it. Even worse, I gave my child a fidget spinner. I know. I deserve your looks of anger and resentment.

I have to say something else as well. I like my fidget spinner. My son’s fidget spinner helps him be less of a distraction. I keep my fidget spinner close by. It helps me focus. That’s right. My entire family is one of “them.” We are the people that keep these ridiculous types of objects on the market. We are to blame.

The thing about the fidget spinner that amazes me is not how quickly that it took off, or even the backlash against it by parents, educators (my coworkers have given me no end to grief), and the public at large. What amazes me about it is how well it works without doing anything amazing. It just spins. There is nothing profound about it. Still, that simple spinning can do wonders that the most unique or profound objects, thoughts, or writing can never do.

I worry that as a society in general (and writers in particular) we expect everything to be profound. I am extremely guilty of this. Rather than using a blog to just put some thoughts out there and to speak my mind, I feel that every time I put something on my blog that it should teach something important. Everything that I say should make somebody reading it on their computer stop what they are doing and just look off into space for a moment and say, “Whoah!” in their best Bill and Ted voice.

Why? What makes me think that everything must be profound? Is it because I think that only the profound ever stand out? I suppose that is why I like my fidget spinner so much. A life lesson learned from something so simplistic that many people hate it, just because it is so simplistic.

So, if you haven’t tried a fidget spinner, go out and get a good one, hold it with two fingers, and give it a spin. Rock it back and forth as it’s spinning. See if you don’t feel the urge to spin it again as it slows down. Most importantly, learn the lesson of the fidget spinner: everything you do or write doesn’t have to be profound. Simplicity has its own appeal. Even if people are talking about how simplistic it is, they are still talking about it!




Alternately titled Being Profound, or not.

Guest post contributed by Christopher Slater. Christopher is a Middle School History teacher in Tennessee. He’s also a husband, father, and author.

24 thoughts on “What Fidget Spinners Can Teach Us About Writing

  1. This is akin to coloring for me. It’s a simple act that helps me focus while writing. Sometimes I make it complex and it can ruin my writing if I’m not careful. I’ve considered getting a spinner for the same purpose as coloring. I’ve held off for a number of reasons, but perhaps I should just spend the ten bucks or so. Thanks for the post.


  2. Good post. I agree that posts can be profound, at one extreme. At the other extreme they can be fluff. I think your post is closer to being profound than to being fluff, and we should all strive for our posts to be closer to the profound. Thanks.


  3. I too, bought my son a fidget spinner, several actually. I agree they are good for the mind and the body, for any age! Keep on spinning. And I’m glad you see that not everything you write on your blog or elsewhere need be profound. Profound wouldn’t be profound if it were ‘everyday.’ Good thoughts – thanks for sharing.


  4. as an occasional educator, I like the idea of the fidget toys, but not so much the practice. When they exploded on the scene, students were bringing the light-up ones and putting them on the desks to make them go, and showing them off, passing them around like toys, all while they were supposed to be working on the lesson–the same lesson the spinners were supposedly going to help them focus on.

    I really hated those damned things.

    But after about two weeks the novelty wore off and students started using them as intended (and most parents told them to leave the light-up ones at home so they wouldn’t distract), and I haven’t had problems with them since.


  5. I actually thought fidget spinners were made for those who had trouble focusing. When it became a “thing”, I just thought, well… doesn’t this feel like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It’s giving awareness for something… and then people started doing tricks with it. That, I didn’t really get but to each their own.


  6. Great article, so true. There is so much pressure to be profound, to stand out, to wow and amaze. Writing can be brilliant even when it’s not ‘profound’, because it doesn’t have to always be. 👏🏼


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