Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Writing and Procrastination

I've been thinking a bit about art, creativity and procrastination. It seems to me that I work best under pressure and I know this is true of a lot of creative people I know. In fact, most writers tell me they absolutely need deadlines to keep themselves motivated. As I enter finals week, I have a lot of work to get done still (although, to be fair I am relatively well prepared going into my last week), but clearly pressure does do something for me too.

There are, of course, other conditions under which people write profusely. Take writing and emotional expression. I'm fascinated by work that comes out of people in very authentic ways, like after a traumatic experience or a particularly emotional life transition. Art that comes from the voices of the oppressed doesn't have a deadline, but rather, a mission. It's still a pressure, but an internal motivation that spurs creativity, rather than the external motivation of expectation like deadlines. Perhaps these highly emotional conditions are a natural condition in which to create art.

My musings lead me to wonder whether procrastinating is really simply a form of creating these intense emotional conditions in which to produce work. I know I will eventually get it done, but why do it now when I can work my ass off later? Our modern lives have so many contraptions that do things for us so we have more time to do other things, but we end up bored. We end up in affairs. We end up picking a fight with our brother. We end up staying out all night the day before the big presentation at work. We end up in car accidents.

We end up in graduate school.

This is all perhaps just a nice excuse for me to blog when I should be working on my research paper. Just helps me justify my procrastinating.

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