Because life is a series of edits

Bulimic Productivity

In Calling, Writing on July 20, 2007 at 7:38 am

I’ve spent way too much time in a staring contest with my computer this week, but at least it’s been productive. Today I’ll submit the first draft of my article for byFaith and maybe check email a couple of times, but that’s about it. All work and no play makes Craig a very dull boy.

I wish I could figure out how to be less of a binge-and-purge writer – ingesting lots of information all at once and then vomiting it back onto the page with one intense gag reflex – but I need momentum, which drives me to the “all or nothing” process that lines up so well with the rest of my personality. Blogging is the only writing I do that is even close to being consistent (at least from a chronological perspective), but that only goes so far in terms of personal fulfillment.

Words cannot express how eager I am to get on a school schedule again next month, both at Covenant as well as at Westminster. It’s no secret I function best with structure, and in the absence of it, I work extra hard to create it myself. This, of course, can take more creative energy than I sometimes want to allocate, but if I have to choose between creating something (time, space, deadlines) to create something or floundering under the tyranny of the urgent and cluttered in trying to do so, I’ll take the former.

This summer has been a good experiment as to what (presumably) future years as a teacher will be like. I recognize that I’m really going to have to plan – and stick to my plan – if I’m to do any serious writing in the summers. And yet, inevitably, I will still need to figure out how to adjust those plans without seriously compromising them when they need to change for reasons beyond my control. Though I’ve gotten better at it over the years, it’s still hard for me.

This, I suppose, is the beauty of the school year – everyone will know I’ll be out of commission from 7:25 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. five days a week, as well as two nights a week from 7-9 p.m., so those won’t be scheduling options. And, as silly as it sounds, that will save me a whole lot of energy in thinking about my time; I just won’t get to vote.

I know some people cringe at this kind of calendar imposition, but for me, knowing those blocks of time are spoken for, it frees and motivates me to make the most of those that aren’t. Sure, things will feel a little tighter, but at least I’ll be spending my energies more on what I’m trying to figure out and less on scheduling when to figure it out.

There’s a theory that whatever amount of time you have or allocate for a project, that will be the time it takes. For most of us, I think that’s true; for me, I know it is. For that reason (and contrary to popular belief), there’s something to be said for structures and limits.

When I’m not fighting against them here, here, here, and here, I’m a big fan.

  1. “There’s a theory that whatever amount of time you have or allocate for a project, that will be the time it takes.”

    Yes. A friend of mine used to say something that perfectly described my M.O. for life. “If you wait until the last minute to do something, then it only takes a minute to do.”

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