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Spinning wheels

Posted by R. Berg on February 05, 2003

In Reply to: Spinning wheels posted by TheFallen on February 05, 2003

: : Hi,

: : Can anyone tell me what does the following sentence mean?

: : "a creative process that often looked to outsiders like 'spinning wheels'".

: : I cannot see the meaning of the image "spinning wheels".

: : Thanks! Sara

: My instant reaction was to think of spinning wheels as in the legend of Sleeping Beauty, spindles and all. However, I would suspect that in your quotation "spinning wheels" refers to the wheels of a car stuck in mud or loose dirt, wheels spinning frantically, but no progress being achieved. This would make more sense I think, although you don't provide much context - whoever is being described creates whatever he's creating via a process that to the casual observer would seem to be aimless and futile.

When you're trying to solve a problem and all you get is mental meanderings that don't help, you're "just spinning your wheels." At least that's a common enough saying in the U.S. Like the car stuck in the mud, the person shows some activity but goes nowhere.