It's hard to look at a few paragraphs and rationalize the hours it took to write them. What was I doing the whole time? Is the clock wrong? On these occasions, it's helpful to remind yourself about the process you just went through. You may not be able to see all of the deleted work you were forced to abandon because it "didn't lead anywhere."
But in truth, it did lead somewhere. Sometimes growing from an initial idea can be misconstrued as going off topic. Well, your topic just changed is all. You had a kernel of an idea that decided it wanted to be something different. Don't fight it. See where the writing takes you and what develops from it. It's finally starting to hit me that being stubborn stunts the process.
My wife came downstairs after I had been writing for an hour. I felt embarrassed to show her the half page I had written, feeling it was unworthy of the time I had. An entire page that wasn't working for me had to be deleted and what remained looked pathetic. The abundance of white space on the screen mocked me, daring me to fill with amazing writing. When a new idea surfaced, I began to read about it so I would sound somewhat intelligent. This "research" took up most of my time.
I looked at her sheepishly, expecting her to react negatively. Would she assume I've been spending all of my time looking at sports news? Instead, she said nothing. I confessed to her, "I had to change a lot of this, I've deleted about an entire page."
She looked at me and said, "Isn't that how writing works?"
I'm glad she already understands what I'm finally starting to.