Issue 40 / January 2012

Publish or Perish - Prioritizing Graphological Tasks for Maximum Demiurgical Efficiency

I really want to write this blog post. I really do. I've been wanting to write it for three weeks now. But there's just too much else to do. And I don't mean visiting with friends or going for a long walk through the park. I mean other things I need to write. Right now. To that end, I've decided to give myself (and anyone else who's interested) a set of guidelines for creating a writing schedule one can follow every day in order to maximize output. Just stick to this list, and you'll undoubtedly finish every project you start, and in record time!


1)     Tweet. Get this out of the way first. It's only 140 characters, for God's sake, and people need to know what you're doing. If you don't know what to Twitter about, consider starting a Twitter novel about someone writing a Twitter novel, because that wouldn't be annoying at all.


2)     Emails. How many people have written to you since you started writing that Tweet I told you to write? Probably a dozen. You're a writer, after all, and everybody loves getting emails from a writer. So get to it! Tell your mother that you only need $500 this month. Tell your ex that you'll stop calling her five times a day when she starts loving you again. And tell those people offering to make your penis bigger to stop emailing you and send the samples already.


3)     Personal blog. After the emotional turmoil of writing to your ex, it's time to pen a lengthy journal entry for the entire world to see. It's not enough to know that you cried; the world wants to know how long you cried for, whether you were curled up in the fetal position while doing it, and what you thought of last night's episode of 30 Rock. Don't leave them hanging. You haven't twittered for, like, an hour now.


4)     Tweet again.


5)     Obscure and almost funny blog you started a few years ago when you first heard the word "blog". Maybe it's twee Photoshop collages you create using old Degas prints and pixellated pictures of adult film stars. Maybe it's the place you log every use of the word "bazoombas" you can find on the internet. Maybe it's just an old-fashioned collection of videos featuring kittens meowing at the camera. But remember, your six fans have been waiting for days for the newest entry, and it's your responsibility to satisfy them. Odds are if you leave them without fresh content for much longer, they'll kill themselves, for pretty obvious reasons.


6)     Facebook/Buzz/Flickr/MySpace Comments and Comment Responses. Don't be stingy with your words, fellow writer. Remember that everyone out there is just as creative as you. And if you don't weigh in on their various postings--be they photographs of how drunk they got last night or their response to that TalkingPointsMemo piece responding to that Huffington Post piece responding to that New York Times piece on the history of Bejeweled--you'll earn yourself a reputation as a one-way street. Don't expect anybody to bend over backwards for you if you won't have the decency to bend over for them.


7)     That book you're writing. Alright. The time has finally come to open up that Word document and...


8)     Shit. Database Entries. Okay. Sometimes your boss is going to come in. When that happens, just minimize all the other windows as fast as you can and say something distracting like, "Wow. This project sure is a lot harder than you made it out to be. I've barely gotten anywhere!" Hopefully he won't look at your screen until you've got that admin portal open.


9)     Tweet again. You almost just got fired! People need to know!


10)   That book you're writing. Okay. Now that everything else is out of the way, now that you've finished at your job, eaten some dinner, gone out and had a few drinks, watched those TV shows you Tivo'd last weekend, had another couple of drinks, and passed out, you're finally ready to start working. It's four in the morning, and that pounding in your sinuses isn't just a hangover, it's the creative juices waiting to burst out of you!


11)  Well that's what happens when you drink too much. It doesn't need to slow you down. Get to work!


12)  Outline. Well, you can't just dive into these things without planning (if you could, you wouldn't need this list, would you?). Spend some time thinking about your plot, your characters, your setting. Maybe a nice walk around the apartment would help. No, keep away from the couch. The bed, too. No, don't call anybody. Put that cell phone away. I know it technically has a keyboard, but you're not going to use it to write your novel. No, you're not.


13)  Texting. See? I told you you wouldn't. That's not a novel. That's a drunk text that you're sending to your ex-girlfriend. No. Don't you dare send the same message to more than one person. Don't hit send. Oh God.


14)  Poetry. Yes, that's a very lovely poem about your loneliness. Rhyme is definitely overrated, as is spelling and not separating each word with a semicolon. On the plus side, the fact that all of those girls chose not to take you up on the whimsically pornographic offer you made in that text message means you finally have time to work. Let's get to it! Yes, the coffee shop next door does have nice wooden tables, liberally spaced electrical outlets, free wi-fi, and a marginally attractive barrista. You'll certainly be able to concentrate there!


15)  To-do List. You're absolutely right. Time to be realistic and chalk today up as a loss. Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow, you're not just going to work on your novel, but also on that half-finished play you started last year, that musical about Nikola Tesla, those short stories, that other novel (the sci-fi one you'll only publish under a pseudonym), and your interconnected series of avant-garde films about toast. Nothing ensures efficiency more than a to-do list.


16)  Tweet your resolve.




Tommy Wallach   

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010

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