Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Piece of Bad Advice

Last week, I explored some advice from a book that caused me great pause. This week, I read another concerning suggestion from another book; given that it is so general I do not need to "out" the author, who suggested that a lack of time is the biggest barrier to writing productivity.

This is untrue for nearly all of us. It is how we use our time that inhibits our productivity. If all you really need is a half an hour a day to be fairly productive (and experience has shown me that many scholars publish a good deal of work in a half an hour a day, writing on most days),  than is a lack of time really the issue?

Text messaging. Surfing the web. Television. Emails.  Is there not a half hour that can be carved out just from these activities?

Also, at times it is not only our use of time, but our privileging certain tasks over others. Emails first? Not wise. Teaching preparations first? Sometimes, but should writing not get equal airtime during your best, most productive times of the day, especially since writing often makes us better teachers?

Believing that time is the biggest problem will stop you from looking at your own processes, your own blocks, and your own current operating procedures. You have developed a set of skills, tools and habits, some of which facilitate productivity, and others that inhibit it. Make time your problem, and you will avoid the real and honest soul searching that is needed to improve your productivity.


  1. All right, all right. You put me to shame. I will stop fiddling with these slides, and get some writing done ;-)

  2. Thank you Rich, this is very sound and true advice. I find writing is not my problem - it is lack of feedback and confidence. Nobody rarely asks for my writing, although the feedback is nice when I do publish. Actually, I wrote a chapter in a large, beautifully illustrated book on 20th C illustrators in Sweden recently, and people seem impressed! I find I need to visualise in order for anyone to care - a writer need a performing persona, I guess.

    I am surrounded by performers, artists, the most obvious professions, although I find that lawyers, academics and business people are performing as much.

    I should know this, having obtained a master's degree in fashion studies (theory). To sum up: Procrastination. Yup. Lack of Feedback - most important reason for not writing and publishing more!

    Your writing is important and much appreciated, thank you.

    1. Sorry I did not get back to you Erika- I have been traveling a lot the last month!

      It often does feel like we are writing to a void, a void we send our work into and somehow expect to be validated by. This is the reason why developing a community of people who care about us, and a community of people who care about our work, sometimes is two different tasks.