Al grano (On my article which says actual “procrastination” may be far less prevalent than it is rumored to be)

I am revising my paper on “procrastination” which has been accepted by a non-refereed journal after being rejected by one competitive refereed one and one non-competitive refereed one. I think it is a good paper but apparently it is hard to understand and not obedient enough. The non-refereed journal thought the same thing but I must make it less scholarly. Therefore I need two pieces: one which is less scholarly, for the non-refereed journal, and another which is still more scholarly than my current text, for refereed journals – because research went into this piece and I want some research credit for it. What the paper does not (yet) say, but is trying to get at, is this:

When I “procrastinate,” or when I have “procrastinated,” it has been because the space of work has been transformed into a space of pain – not because work is challenging but because my workplace is a place of abuse or, in the case of Reeducation, because my work was being used as a way to abuse me. This is why no amount of advice on time management or on the reduction of perfectionism ever worked.

This supercilious and condescending advice was in itself a further distortion of the situation since I am in fact and have always been very good on the use of time and on not having to be perfect. In fact, on this last point, I would actually like to take the luxury of perfectionism some time – to take the time to research and then explain fully the questions which really interest me.

On these topics Servetus writes, in a post I am addicted to, about another post I am also addicted to:

“I will not speak. I will not write. Because anything you say or write is only evidence of all the ways you are already wrong, were wrong from the very beginning. Once someone has said you are a failure, every time you fail you prove them right. And success is not success, it is contradiction. I do speak, I do write. But lately it is like death. It is like chewing off your paw to get it out of the steel trap. After you’ve been chewing desperately for a few years, you start to want to give up.”


6 thoughts on “Al grano (On my article which says actual “procrastination” may be far less prevalent than it is rumored to be)

  1. it’s probably uncool to comment approvingly on a post approving of one’s own post, but I am really pleased that you touched on the time management issue here. It seems that’s key because that is the issue that is always used to punish people–“didn’t use time wisely.” No one ever asks why: laziness is always the assumption.

  2. It’s ironic and yet fitting that writing about the pain of writing still needs to be obedient. How can one make a creative response to the rules and procedures of scholarship? I’m also asking myself that this very week. I’m working on how to bridge that gap between what I’m trying to say and what my words on the screen say. It requires creativity and something else I’m trying to seek in myself — a real reason to do expend such energy.

  3. S – yes indeed on time management. Any undergraduate who managed to get into a PhD program and then into a tenure track or tenured job, has good time management skills. As a professor one may need to make adjustments and add to one’s time management skills, but if you stop using time wisely it isn’t because of not knowing how – it’s because you’re in an untenably chaotic workplace where you are not allowed to exert reasonable control of your time, or because you’re being harassed, discouraged, etc. and having your energy drained.

    Kiita – this is where being in literature helps. All authors have this problem. R.D. “I am searching for a form my style cannot find / bud of thought that desires to be a rose / … / and [I see nothing but] the [question mark shaped] neck of the great white swan which interrogates me.”

    Scholarship of course adds another layer to the problem and that question of whether it is worth the energy is also mine. (Of course I think it actually is worth the energy, but I often have these doubts.)

  4. Bonjour’s madam’s bones are the splinters piercing my guts
    I wipe my eyes with yesterday’s fabric
    Tomorrow’s texture is the cloth that did Heracles to death
    Today’s shoulders flinch from my life’s overcoat
    And this footman whose inscrutable face lashed me like a whip
    Do not ask “Where do you come from” but “Where are we going”

  5. Quel bon poeme.

    [Accent grave on that e in poeme, I am too lazy to put it in now but if the Frenchies are watching, know ye that I know the first e in poeme has an accent grave.]

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