Blog writing: attention vs. productive procrastination

At the recent Computers and Writing conference in Detroit, I went to a presentation where Derek Mueller talked the role of “attention” in motivation for blog writing. I’m simplifying quite a bit just because I don’t have my notes here (though, note to self– remember to ask Derek for a copy of his talk).

Derek had a lot of good points in his talk, but I managed to stumble across another explanation that seems to explain a lot of the blogging that I do: structured procrastination.

It’s kind of an old essay by John Perry, no slouch of a Philosophy professor at Stanford. “Structured Procrastination” is a brief internet essay I probably should have come across earlier (had I been paying attention); regardless, it seems to ring a bell to the practice of blogging. For example:

I have been intending to write this essay for months. Why am I finally doing it? Because I finally found some uncommitted time? Wrong. I have papers to grade, textbook orders to fill out, an NSF proposal to referee, dissertation drafts to read. I am working on this essay as a way of not doing all of those things. This is the essence of what I call structured procrastination, an amazing strategy I have discovered that converts procrastinators into effective human beings, respected and admired for all that they can accomplish and the good use they make of time.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Of course, it looks to me that Perry is still procrastinating from going into any more detail about all this procrastination. But that’s another project….

2 thoughts on “Blog writing: attention vs. productive procrastination”

  1. Now I have a name for it! “Structured procrastination” is much more concise than “If you have something you absolutely have to do that you can’t bring yourself to do, do something else useful, so that you won’t feel like a total loser.”

  2. maybe the procrastination inyour blogging is caused by task(writting) which can be changed rather than “Structured procrastination� seems unchangeable!

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