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What I write about when I write about writing

May 22, 2009

I am lazy.I am not self-driven.I am not motivated.I am not disciplined.I am not hard working.I am not talented.

What I should be doing is look for a job in a big office,a nice cubicle in the corner,where my mediocrity will just blend me into the background.By some convoluted logic, my not-so-hard earned degree will some how ensure a decent pay package.(This is NOT to say that all who are working are like that.Maybe because there are so many of you smart guys working out there, it easier of some of us to get by with mediocre work.I mean it.The company can afford me INR X, because you guys are making INR 3X for the company)

What I definitely should not be doing, according to those personality based tests,ย  is try to be self-employed – Freelancing or entrepreneurship.I have heard that once you are on your own you sense of responsibility heightens. Not me. I am just frustrated at not having a team or partner to blame the missed deadline.People waste days or weeks. I am capable of wasting months (and years).

I am always ready with an excuse.In office, people would borrow my excuses for extended leave..Killing off an already dead grandparent was lame. Having to rush to Guwahati because your mom has suddenly fallen sick and needs to be transported to Hyd for operation because your dad is out of station and you are the only one in the family, is what I call an average excuse.Usually I am out of the office, by the time I even get to the end of that sentence.

(The rest cannot be published for copyright issues).

But now what? No one cares for an excuse.All my correspondence is over mail.The editors donot know me and donot care if I submit an article or not.Unless of course once they decide to publish submit and ask me for photographs, and I disappear for a month.

And thus I managed to successfully waste the last month.And thus I was cribbing to a dear friend, who promptly sent me this link. written by a certain Steve Pavlina

Read it. It won’t change your life, and if you are anything like me,it will not even change your nasty habits.

Infact after reading the first paragraph

“When going to college many years ago, I decided to challenge myself by setting a goal to see if I could graduate in only three semesters, taking the same classes that people would normally take over a four-year period. This article explains in detail all the time management techniques I used to successfully pull this off.In order to accomplish this goal, I determined I’d have to take 30-40 units per semester, when the average student took 12-15 units.”

I had but just one thought .”God, when did this loser ever make out.Did he even have a girlfriend.” I was reminded of those ambitious kids in college who had their finger in every pie – dramatics, quizzing,theater- just so that they could fluffย  up their portfolio.While the rest of us would hang around debating momo vs samosa, we could see these kids whizz by carrying banners and files, saving Tibet or Narmada (both of which I joined ,for the record,only because the senior I had a big crush on , personally asked me,three times, you see)

And I couldn’t help but be smug when I read the last lines of the article

If I had to do it all over again, I think my college experience would have been even better if I’d stretched it to four or five semesters and allowed myself time for a girlfriend. It would have been great to have someone else to share my life with, not to mention all the other benefits of intimacy”

Anyway, If I were you (and I hope not, I am really enjoying my life right now.),I would read that article.

Atleast you will have an idea of how you are wasting your time.I assume if you are a big time management freak you won’t waste your time blogging and reading inane blogs.(And there goes the last of my 2 readers. Just kidding ,come back guys.I know y’all are busy and I am grateful you have taken time out of your busy schedule to read me.Next time you are in Bombay,drinks on me,)

This is what I liked best in that article,

‘If I had a 10-hour term paper to write, I would do the whole thing at once instead of breaking it into smaller tasks. I’d usually do large projects on weekends. I’d go to the library in the morning, do the necessary research, and then go back to my dorm room and continue working until the final text was rolling off my printer. If I needed to take a break, I would take a break. It didn’t matter how big the project was supposed to be or how many weeks the professor allowed for it. Once I began an assignment, I would stay with it until it was 100% complete and ready to be turned in.This simple practice saved me a significant amount of time. First, it allowed me to concentrate deeply on each assignment and to work very efficiently while I worked. A lot of time is lost in task switching because you have to re-load the context for each new task.’

Ask me that.With all unfinished drafts opened at the same time on my screen, half the time I spend toggling between word docs and then I get frustrated and then close it all.Only to re open them all the next day and lose all train of thought.

Co-incidentally around the same time Sid got Haruki Murakami’s “What I talk about when I talk about running”

Sid got the book to prepare himself for marathon.(I didn’t know Murakami was such a marathon fanatic). The book is not just about the physical aspect of running-best exercises or diet. Murakami draws parallel between the daily grind of marathon training with the task of writing.He is not the kind to wait for that blinding flash of brilliance.He will write.Every.Single.Day.No excuses allowed. His daily marathon training helped him to be more focused and disciplined as a writer.“Writing novels … is basically a kind of manual labor.The whole process … requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine.” Running, he says, is the best training.”

It does take away the aura and glamour of writing.We want our literary geniuses to be starving, anti-social, raging alcoholic, dying in some god forsaken attic as he gets his literary sparks in a state of drunkenness.Not a fit ,healthy and family man who runsย  20 miles before breakfast. Give me F.Scott Fitzgerald to a Haruki Murakami.

But what he says does make sense.

At the end of it, you have to find your style.

On a side note, both Murakami and Steve Pavlina(if you did click that link) mention endless times that they are no God’s Favored child and were not born with any inborn talent. In their own words, they are the Average Joe.Much like us.

They knew they had to work hard and they simply did that.

P.S.- I will post tags from now,but will someone tell me what they do? These tag.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2009 12:21 pm

    I should stop visiting your blog anymore! You make me feel good about my own lazy ways, I come here for empathy. Enjoyed the article by Steve Pavlina, but was deprived of any good impression that it could have left on me, simply because I read your post first, and the pastures this side appear so much greener ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 26, 2009 8:09 pm

      But of course it is greener. Let others do the work and set things in order. Then we move in.

  2. May 22, 2009 12:50 pm

    err… about that drink… i read your blog and i am in bbay. so where… when?
    well, am joking. keep writing. you are good at it.

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 26, 2009 8:13 pm

      Umm..Right now I can afford Gokul’s(Winner of shady-iest bar in south mumbai .You up for it? ๐Ÿ˜€

      • May 27, 2009 2:59 pm

        why not! i have fond memories of gokul ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. May 22, 2009 4:25 pm

    PLiss to put up list of imaginative excuses so that the rest of us can also take come benefit ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 26, 2009 8:13 pm

      IF you are good at something, don’t do it for free – The Joker

  4. May 22, 2009 6:35 pm

    Thanks for this post. I need this right now, so that I stop wasting my time and work on my writing too…

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 26, 2009 8:14 pm

      But then creativity cannot be tied down to routine ,right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. May 26, 2009 8:18 pm

    “Killing off an already dead grandparent was lame. ” hey we are best buddies!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. May 29, 2009 6:02 am

    You should definitely get the book, 80/20 Principles by Richard Kotch( the real fact of the matter is laziness is a virtue, not something that needs attention (unless you are going way down than your normal laziness:) That’s the point of the book and we lazy smart fellas would love it!

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 29, 2009 8:05 pm

      Hmmm now you have totally sold the book to me..:-)

  7. May 29, 2009 6:09 am

    About tags – I found a use right now. My blog is about whatever I do and hence there is no clear topic expect that it is from me. So I was just classifying the posts based on “running” “cycling” “football” etc. And if people are only interested in “running”, I can just offer them a view of my running posts only. So on a cycling forum, I would just put “” in my signature. So you need to be consistent with the tag. May be I could spin off a new blog for some of them(since I am lazy, I will do it later very proudly:)

    • lostonthestreet permalink
      May 29, 2009 8:07 pm

      But then how is it different from “categories”? I have posts neatly filed under diff categories,never mind that most go under uncategorized!!!!

  8. akb permalink
    June 1, 2009 2:08 am

    atta gurl . good stuff. would have wanted to join you had i known earlier. but then how often have i said that i couldn’t remember.
    Me : But of course ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. lostonthestreet permalink
    May 26, 2009 8:14 pm



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