For Information Only, As Nobody We Know Behaves Like This

January 24th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Sometimes it seems hard to believe that today’s young writers are following the same vocation as that depicted by a long night of wakefulness in Cyril Connolly’s Enemies of Promise (1938), when the tortured would-be writer lies awake all night hearing the bells sound off the hours – or is it the decades? – and all too soon eight o’clock approaches, and the magnum opus is still not written.

Of all the afflictions of the old school, surely the most entrenched and significant was procrastination. Anyone can procrastinate, of course – anyone with a tendency to perfectionism and a horror of imagined drudgery – but writers have had a special relationship with it.

Now while we know well the loving thoughts the article’s author has for procrastination, there’s a sense that perhaps delaying the inevitable is bad. Like maybe it’s not the best way to move forward with a career. Perhaps if we put forth our clearly superior definition of procrastination: deadline-oriented. We love deadlines. They keep us focused. And it’s not really our fault we don’t have any with our fiction right now.

And yes, we remain aware that we have a looming first draft deadline at the end of the month. We’re going to have to move into a furious frenzy (and opposed, we suppose, to a lazy frenzy) to complete what we said we’d have done. But no matter, everyone knows the best procrastination comes in the second draft. Editing and revising…there’s something to linger over.

  • Loitering with intent – As a new publishing season gets under way, Henry Shukman considers the virtues and perils, for writers, of not producing books – of waiting, stalling and redrafting to avoid turning words into print

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