Monday, April 19, 2010

Do Thi Werk

So says The Cloud of Unknowing, and it's good damn advice, even if it's advice that I can't seem to follow these days.

(I can see the end of the semester. You know that feeling? When it's hovering there? And you can't begin to do all the things that need to happen between now and then? Because you're so focused on the hazy heat of summer? Oh yes.)

I spent this weekend avoiding working on a short little article that I'm trying to send out by the end of the month. A low-stakes kind of thing that I was invited to write up and submit (and really, the journal must have been groping at the bottom of the pile to find me, for all I have in print right now is one article and three book reviews, all of which are published in the same small-circulation journal). Being a junior-type person trying to build a publishing record, I of course said Yes.

I then wrote rapidly for a couple of days and produced almost a complete draft--which I then didn't look at for two weeks.

That, my friends, is a recipe for procrastination: Write fast, don't edit, leave it alone for two weeks.

Because I know that it's bad, but I've kind of forgotten what it says, and I don't want to look at it.

So I spent the weekend stewing and unproductive, equally avoiding all other borderline unpleasant tasks (i.e. grading).

This morning, I opened the file and revised the first couple of pages. It's not great. But it's okay. It'll get fixed (as everything always does).

And now it's like something's jarred free and I can actually work again. Hooray! Why didn't I do this on Saturday, exactly?

1 comment:

Sisyphus said...

Sometimes you need to take a couple days and not think about all the types of work you have to do, you know, rest up your mental muscles. Even if it is an anxsty and stewing kind of rest that is not very pleasant.

Ideally we'd get outside and do the types of things we don't do in classrooms or our mental work, but I know how hard it is to stop worrying and to get out there, even when I know it's good for me.