Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Commitment and Productivity

Hello blog,

I feel very unfocused lately. I have bursts of productivity. I will write a little bit of a story and then wander off to read the book I should be reviewing. I will stare at the copies of Jane Eyre, A Room of One's Own, and Mrs. Dalloway I have stacked on my printer and then instead draw a couple of clothing designs. This will inevitably turn me to mourning the fact that half of my old designs are lost somewhere in my apartment or house or were disposed of in the trash without my knowledge and I will find something to take my mind off of that. So where does that leave me? Writing another blog post I guess. But why? Well, because I feel like the world is set up for focused people.

Think about how much of being productive asks for your commitment. To read a book that I'm not obligated to read for a class, it has to really grab me from at least the first 50 to 100 pages. Otherwise, why should I bother? Yet some authors seem to write now with the idea that if I've picked up their book I'm somehow obligated to commit hours of my life to a slow slog through bland descriptions (desperately trying to be insightful and evocative) and inspired storytelling. No, thank you. Yet, if I've read that 50 to 100 pages am I allowed to give my opinion? Well, not without an automatic counterclaim that I haven't finished so my thoughts aren't as valid. Did I read that book? Well, I read some of it...I read enough of it.

So you sit down and do some writing. Is the story finished? Not by a long shot. There's still at least 5 more edits to get through. I might end up scrapping the whole thing. And no one reading really has anything to say until you've finished the damn thing. It's almost worse with essays because at least with stories you can end chapters on a cliffhanger. An essay can't be presented until you've done all the work. You may have laid out the foundations of an argument but until the whole thing is ready, you can't show it to anyone prepared to defend it. (Yes, I've got a blog post in the works that I might never get finished.)

But why is the world so structured around commiting your time to things? We've only got so much time on this earth and sometimes it seems like there are so many impulses pulling you in different directions but all demanding a substantial chunk of your time. With my designs it's easy. I put pen to paper and in a few seconds I've got a new sketch. And yet it's not fulfilling in the same way. And the actual product, the dress, would take another substantial chunk of time to sew. I don't know what I'm trying to say with this, just that I sometimes I wish I knew what to do and I wish something were pushing me to get things done.

No comments:

Post a Comment