Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How do you write?

Procrastination is a type of behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. [1] Psychology researchers also have three criteria they use to categorize procrastination. For a behavior to be classified as procrastination, it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.[2] (Wikipedia)

Counterproductive, needless and delaying. ARGH. Do you procrastinate when you have big task ahead of you? Writing is a task that finds me in either overdrive or stalled...procrastinating. I have huge amounts of writing to do right now. I am writing 1) a book; 2) an article on teachers, mental health conditions and helping adolescents; 3) an article on life after high school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders; 4) a very boring article for everyone but two other professors in the world on conducting research on post-school outcomes (don't ask); and 5) a really interesting piece with daughter Linea about US (yes, self-centered but fun!). Oh, and I am overdue on about three huge reports...So, what do I do? I am good at organizing my office(s), both work and home, so that I am in a lovely and comfortable environment where my creative juices feel welcome. I make excellent tea, warming the teapot just so and steeping for at least 5 minutes. I stop and look whenever the sun comes out. I answer phone calls from my family. I spend time walking from one end of the house to the other to get a cracker and a piece of cheese. I nibble. I read the acknowledgements in the back of the three books I am currently reading. I WRITE ON MY BLOG.

But, somehow the thoughts that need to go from my brain to my fingers to the screen and on to the paper flutter and turn and eventually settle where they are supposed to. I forget things while "procrastinating" like my keys, my phone, my teeth cleaning appointment. Which, by the way, costs extra $ and is punishable by a three month wait for another opening. But the contemplation sorts and sifts through the ruminating and the writing comes, finally, in long and steady doses. I sit in pajamas (home office only) and write and write and write and I am lost in a space that finally makes sense. Procrastination may be Delaying but perhaps not Counterproductive and Needless. How do you write?

1 comment:

linea said...

I unfortunately think that I write ilke my mother, which is not really unfortunate at all. What is unfortunate is that I tend to do best under pressure and a time crunch, which doesn't always feel the best. I have listened to my writing teachers explain that they write best in the morning, the best after a walk, the best at such and such a time, but i always find that their advice makes me procrastinate more. It's all individual I suppose. Some write on a steady schedule, I write when I write. There is one thing I do know however, I do much better if I force myself to write even if I am not feeling overly creative. I try to write everyday to just get something out. Somedays this is harder then usual.