PRO-fessional PRO-crastination

This is Interesting
I'd better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

I’d better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

The fluffy lint, pencil sharpenings and scraps of Fruit Tingle wrappers that had lived happily in the bottom of my satchel bag were violently evicted from their home this morning as I, owner of the bag, decided that their time was up. Sitting on the floor of my studio with my bag turned inside out, vacuuming dry the corners of the bags innards, I realised that this might in fact be procrastination.

The Websters Dictionary defines procrastination as: “The grime inside Edmund’s dishwasher vanishing while the background art on four pressing illustrations are phototoshop layers all labeled as ‘backdoodle1′”.

I now have a few long term projects underway that I am very terrified excited about. You may want to hear about those but I’ll keep them secret and list just a small number of activities I have thought to be more pressing in my history of needing to get shit done:

  • Clean. Every. Skirting board.
  • Clean every architrave (they are skirting boards that go around doors).
  • Gently wash the plastic Astroboy that stands next to the wifi router.
  • Dust the wifi router.
  • Reorganise the DVD shelf autobiographicaly (you know, like in High Fidelity).
  • Hey, I have High Fidelity… Watch high fidelity with special features.
  • Re-fold ALL my clothes.
  • Write a rap about how hard I study with lots of double entendre (Record. Listen. Cry. Never perform).
  • Learn how to juggle eggs.
  • Clean egg from carpet.
  • Learn how to juggle tennis balls.
  • Wash all my clothes (including the ones I was wearing), walk to outdoor laundry carrying washing basket while loosely wearing a towel – get surprised by the landlord and 2 Sydney Water representatives checking the water meter in your backyard.
  • Make complete diorama of the living room (done in collaboration with playwright Jess Bellamy who may have also been procrastinating)
  • Write a blog about procrastination.

Look, it’s hard to jump straight into a creative job. You need to get into the ‘zone’ or the ‘open mode’ as John Cleese puts it… 

Let me explain a little. By the “closed mode” I mean the mode that we are in most of the time when {we are} at work.
We have inside us a feeling that there’s lots to be done and we have to get on with it if we’re going to get through it all.
It’s an active (probably slightly anxious) mode, although the anxiety can be exciting and pleasurable.
It’s a mode which we’re probably a little impatient, if only with ourselves.
It has a little tension in it, not much humor.
It’s a mode in which we’re very purposeful, and it’s a mode in which we can get very stressed and even a bit manic, but not creative.
By contrast, the open mode, is relaxed… expansive… less purposeful mode… in which we’re probably more contemplative, more inclined to humor (which always accompanies a wider perspective) and, consequently, more playful.
It’s a mood in which curiosity for its own sake can operate because we’re not under pressure to get a specific thing done quickly. We can play, and that is what allows our natural creativity to surface.

The thing that surprises me every time is that the minute I actually start working on a project, when the pencil hits the paper, it all usually flows quite easily. I just need to get past the stigma. I am in the ‘closed mode’ while  the cleaning and organising and diorama making is going on, which is all quite purposeful… but I think anxiety can be the key. After sitting at my desk feverishly cleaning my keyboard the anxiety hits, all this time I could have been doing work and it might be that guilt that gives you the edge to achieve something creative. I remind myself that this fear can be a useful tool and not something to run from as I keep a quote from T. S. Eliot above my desk “Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.”

One thought on “PRO-fessional PRO-crastination

  1. Considering most of the best ideas come while sitting on the toilet bowl, creatives should just set up there workdesks there. Some sort of dual wastebasket/toilet bowl contraption could also be invented.

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