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09 March 2005 @ 10:45 am
writing and procrastination  
From a Salon.com interview with Dave Eggers:

Interviewer: I have this thing where in order to feel productive I have to feel like I'm procrastinating -- so I'll take on a bunch of work, even stuff I don't really want to do, just so I have an excuse to put it down and pick up something else...
Eggers: Yes! You said it way better than I could. It's been that way for me basically forever. I was thinking about writing "Heartbreaking Work" the whole time that we did Might magazine --and that, for me, was competing with my time to maybe write that story out. And then I worked for Esquire for a year and I was supposed to be writing there but all I was doing was working on the memoir, for the most part. And then while I was stalling on that, that's where McSweeney's came from. I thought, "Fuck that, I haven't published anything and I don't know where I'm going with this memoir, but I have this idea for a magazine!"

You only want to work on the stuff you're not supposed to be working on. That's how it always is. I'll always be working on five things at once, usually with those documents open at the same time because if I get stuck somewhere I'll jump over to something else. That's how my head has always worked. I don't know if it's 'cause I watched too much TV as a kid or what. It really could be that.
the butcher of mayfair: hp-remus-tortureanniesj on March 9th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
HA! That is so the way I write. Five or six Word docs open, jumping around back and forth while avoiding what I am SUPPOSED to be working on. And I agree -- it's all the television's fault. *blames it and loves it all at the same time*
caiathisficklemob on March 9th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)

I remember reading an interview with some professor at some place like Princeton or something, who was explaining how he managed to teach and publish and have office hours and dinners with his students and spend time with his family, etc. He said the key for him was setting his priorities. He'd take something mostly irrelevant and not time sensitive, like reading all his department mail, and make it his first priority. He knew it wasn't, and he didn't want to do it, but he'd convince himself it was his number one priority anyway. This allowed him to spend all his time doing the things he really wanted to do that were important to him, as he studiously avoiding doing the thing at the top of his list.
Anna S.eliade on March 9th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC)
I do that too! Heh. Someone should do a study of this...or already has. *g*
caia: Mulder & Scully by bandgeekthisficklemob on March 9th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
I don't consciously do this... I'm not good enough at psyching myself out... but I have noticed that it's easier to work on things I don't have to do. Or to do the second or third most important/urgent thing. This applies to writing, but also to chores, errands, etc. I was the kind of student who'd eagerly stop and read a non-assigned essay or chapter in a book that I happened across on the way to the assigned one.
(Anonymous) on March 10th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
So nice to know I'm not the only one.
I read this yesterday too and thought, "okay, good, it's cool now to be a procrastinating multi-tasker." Leave it to Eggers. But I still don't get 98% of McSweeney's.

Amy B.
(Lurker to your fandom)