Ahead of its time? If so, just by a year…
Joe Hill has written some incredible stuff (see my review of N0S4A2 here) and now he’s written an answer to my question about how he stays focused:
I used to try and juggle two or sometimes even three writing jobs at once. I’d have a novel I’d work on in the morning, a comic I’d be scripting in the evening, and maybe an introduction or a review I’d be scribbling in-between. It never really worked and it often left me both overstressed and too worn out to focus on the rest of my life.
Also, doubling up on projects made me less productive, not more. Everything took twice, or even three times as long to finish, because I was tackling each project with half my focus. None of this reflects in any way on the finished results – I don’t publish things until I’m ready and I like them and think other people will like them. It only means I made things harder for myself than they had to be.
This is precisely how I’ve felt of late, although people keep asking me how I stay so focused and productive (my friend Saleema just asked me last night — my answer was that it’s all an illusion).
Hill’s solution is simple and elegant: work on only thing at a time (no creative multitasking!) — and happens to be the solution I was pondering. So now I feel like my instincts are confirmed, and that’s new “Jonathan Ball policy” officially.
Thanks, Joe Hill!
“I imagine that somewhere in Sandy Hook Elementary School there was one of those banners with the 26 letters of the alphabet marching above a blackboard. You could arrange each dead body into the shape of one letter. They could spell anything.”
— Michael Robbins, in an outstanding essay on US drone warfare
CBC’s Arman Kazemi interviewed me, Nikki Reimer, Christen Thomas, Sonnet L’Abbe, and others about digital poetry. I ended up relating some of my opinions back to my book Ex Machina, which I consider digital poetry although it has no digital edition.
It disturbs me how much I love Emily M. Keeler’s column “Shelf Esteem” over at Hazlitt. As somebody who constantly reorganizes or simply stares at his library when he should, in fact, be writing (alternately enthused or depressed by shelves sagging beneath the weight of the literary tradition), it’s a great break from my own shelves. Whenever I am in another person’s home, I seek out and fondle their bookshelves, voyeuristically, and so Keeler has wormed her way into my heart with this feature. If you haven’t already checked it out, then check it out. It’s supercool.
[I hate when a singer says] ‘I wanna tell you something.’ And you’re like, ‘What the hell’s “something”? Why don’t you tell me what it is?’
(from the Mohr Stories podcast)
A new feature on the site, since I just figured out the iPhone has a “turnaround-y camera thing” (technical term).
“What does this character want?” . . . We want it all. We want everything, and when we get it we won’t be happy.