For all those who are concerned with their writerly productivity, you absolutely need to listen to this terrific talk by the writer, Éireann Lorsung, given recently at the University of Iowa. It’s a hugely thoughtful reflection on the problems with the issue of productivity, the obsession with publishable outcomes, the importance of dormancy, and the role of failure in life and writing. “I’d encourage you, if you can, to try to conceive of periods of low productivity, or of not writing… as times where the work you are doing is invisible, rather than nonexistent.”
So put your to-do list to one side, put down your manuscript, take a break, and have a listen. It sounds like there’s also some great doodling taking place on the blackboard as the talk unfolds: but the talk is only audio, so you’ll just have to imagine the doodles!
(Incidentally, the image accompanying this blog post is called “Idleness Opening the Door for the Lover” and dates from 1405. I like the idea that what I take for idleness may actually be opening doors. Find out more about the image here).