Posted tagged ‘procrastination’

Work Product of Heavy Procrastinator (Long form Tic Tac Toe?) (Animation)

December 14, 2011

I post the above to show what a really determined procrastinator (with an iPad 2) can get up to.

Also to clarify that I really am not much of a perfectionist.

The above is not one of my better animations.  I did the whole thing, as they say, a– backwards.  Meaning that I didn’t consider what I was doing at the beginning and had to go back and fill in frames without the help of the “ghost” images of my animation app.  This method doesn’t work well and yet managed to take up an inordinate amount of time, much of which was to be spent cleaning my apartment to make room for guests and tree.

Oh well, I still have room in the closets.  (For the clutter, not the tree. Or guests. Sheesh.)

(P.S. if you like silliness, check out NOSE DIVE, novel by Karin Gustafson and Jonathan Segal, for a higher level of it.)

Blocking Writer’s Block: Don’t Worry About the Where

May 11, 2010

Writing IN Your Notebook

I am returning to my series of posts on blocking writer’s block this morning at one of my favorite secret places for writing—the New York County Supreme Court building at  111 Centre Street.

Yes, the downstairs lobby is a bit tacky.  From the outside, the place looks dark, shut down; you feel almost certain from the sidewalk, that the main exterior doors will not open when you push.  (In fact, they do not open–much.   They squeak, scrape, and stick; with a lot of force, you can just wedge yourself through.)

But when you do get inside the building, past the metal detectors, beyond the dingy elevators, up to a highish floor, a sea change occurs—the main corridors here are lovely, with granite floors, marble (or faux marble) walls, and tall windows edging the South, West and East exposures, looking out over lower Manhattan.

I’m not saying that these corridors are particularly posh—there’s a definite utilitarian cast to the white plaster-board of the dropped ceilings.  Even the granite and marble look as if the colors were chosen not to show dirt.  (These are public buildings, after all.)

But the wooden benches that line the windowed walls are smooth and comfortable,  sunny and light, and, if you are not on a floor of bored and disgruntled jurors, the corridor carries such a serene hush that when, in the midst of muted steps, you hear a murmur about “what street informants want,” you are definitely taken aback.

I have to say upfront that I’ve never gone to New York Supreme just to write—I’ve always had some official purpose, and had to sit there waiting to fulfill it.   But it is nonetheless a very good place for writing.  (If you haven’t been sub poenaed, virtually no one bothers you.) Important caveat:  I think that coming in here just for a quiet place to work might actually constitute some kind of crime; it’s probably best not engage in it in a place filled with cops.  (They tend to be big cops, their hips bulging with handguns and, well, hip.)

So now, I’m on the subway writing.  It’s also not bad.  Yes, an unseasonably cold day makes the seasonal air conditioning drafty; the mechanized voices jabber nonstop, and there is the constant loud whir, bing, squeal of the engine, wheels, track.  Still, I have a seat.   (It’s not a rush hour train.)

More importantly,  I’m not just writing on the train right now—I’m mainly writing in my notebook. Which is about as quiet and uncluttered and spacious as lined white paper can be.

The point of all this:  don’t worry about where you are doing your work.  Don’t put it off because you don’t have the right space (a writer’s room, cabin, desk, even computer).  Don’t put it off even to wait for  the right moment.   I know it sounds clichéd, but the fact is that the only place you ever have to write is the place you are right now;  the only moment you ever have is this one.

To some degree, the same reasoning can be applied to drawing and painting. Again, of course, it’s wonderful to have a lovely studio, easel, table, but your drawing is not made only in your studio.  The place it truly inhabits is the page (or napkin or envelope.)

Of course, some places are genuinely more inconvenient or conducive than others;  if you have access to a convenient, conducive place, take it!  But the factor that most quickly makes a space workable is simply working in it.  Engagement is a great architect/decorator.

I don’t write this to be annoying, or to tout my own powers of concentration.  (They are not very good–when I write in a public space, I sometimes just follow my mind’s meanderings.)  I write to help counteract the many forces that lull one into procrastination.

If you want to work, then get to work!  Wherever!

(P.S. For more on blocking writer’s block, check out the writer’s block category on the ManicDDaily home page.)

(P.P.S. Computer problems delayed the posting of this post beyond my daily deadline, drat!  Sorry!)

More on ‘If Not Now, When?’

December 30, 2009

In connection with my post of Carpe Decade–If Not Now, When (Say Never!), you may like to check out John Tierney’s December 28th article about carpe diem.  Tierney discusses, among other things, the commercial effects of procrastination (all those unused gift certificates) as people wait for the perfect moment to use them.  Unfortunately, expiration (or forgetfullness) often seems to precede this perfect moment.

Tierney’s answer:  “Remember the advice offered in the movie “Sideways” to Miles, who has been holding on to a ’61 Cheval Blanc so long that it is in danger of going bad. When Miles says he is waiting for a special occasion, his friend Maya puts matters in perspective:

“The day you open a ’61 Cheval Blanc, that’s the special occasion.”

More Advice For Blocks – Sugarcoating The Bullet

December 6, 2009

Followers of this blog know that I have devoted a series of posts to blocking writer’s block and other creative blocks.  But the most common blocks don’t concern projects that are creative, but tasks that are onerous.  These are usually tasks that feel extremely uncreative and yet are difficult, daunting, impossible to begin.

I have developed a number of strategies to deal with such onerous projects:

1.  Close your eyes and wish for as long as possible that the project will just go away. You’ll be amazed how often, with enough procrastination,  a  project will simply be mooted, no longer relevant.  (Christmas cards are, of course, a prime example.  Though the worst case I ever had was with a wedding present I delayed sending long enough for the couple to break up.)

This strategy even works with projects that are not time-sensitive.   Take a cluttered closet that houses, in its depths, scads of missing clothes—time doesn’t make the clutter go away, but usually other demands surface, new clothes are purchased, pounds are put on—suddenly the disorder in the closet just doesn’t seem to matter.

2. Involve someone else.  Often you will still be the person who ends up doing the work, but you’ll at least have someone to witness the work, and, hopefully, to listen to you kvetch.  If it’s that cluttered closet you are working on, you can also ask them for permission to throw your things out.  (Generally, if it’s a good, useful, sort of person, they will be quite willing to have you throw your old stuff out.)

3.  Sugarcoat the bullet.  Sometimes you just can’t put a task off any longer; i.e. the tension of procrastination and insecurity has gotten way more uncomfortable than any amount of despairing but determined slogging away.

You have to bite the bullet. And yet you just can’t bear to clamp down.

Some kind of sugarcoating of the bullet may be required.  This should be a pampering that will make the task easier,  but won’t cause further delay.    (Don’t say, for example, I’ll just take a nap first. And don’t spend a couple of hours, shopping for items that will supposedly make your work oh so much easier.)

If your task is relatively mindless, listening to an audiobook or pod cast can make the work palatable.  If the task does demand a lot of your mind, try listening to music or an audiobook that you know too well to find fully distracting.  (Or, for example, the audio, with only occasional glimpses of the visuals, of a Robert Pattinson trailer.)

Remember that the point of all this is to create a distraction, but a mild one–a distraction that does not take you away from the work, but from your resistance to the work.

(Not the TV.)

4.  Just do it.  I hate to paraphrase a corporate slogan.  Still, once you’ve shut your eyes, delayed, given up on involving anyone, and used up all the sugar you have and still haven’t been able to get it to stick to the bullet,  just make yourself begin.  Momentum is a physical reality, but it can only kick into gear when you do.