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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grasshoppers and Ants

This article talks about the two styles of writing, one the steady plugging away of the ant, and the other the last minute before the deadline cramming of the grasshopper.

The author of the article is almost apologetic about being the ant. I have a bit of different perspective on this, as you might imagine.

I don't see these as two personal styles, suited to two classes of individuals. I am going to be extremely dogmatic here and say that the grasshopper model is vastly inferior, and inferior for every single individual. You can get away with meeting deadlines at the last minute for a while. You might even meet all your deadlines, but you will still a slave to deadlines and will only get a minimal amount done. For example, you might get all your book reviews done, all your conference papers prepared, but what about the long-term projects? How do those get written? The ant is going to outproduce the grasshopper 100% of the time, because it is not going to let external deadlines be the driving force for productivity. That is about the worst fucking thing you can do.


Clarissa said...

What I have noticed: I can only generate a certain number of good, original ideas in a day. So if I work on my research consistently, every day, then the number of insights in an article is greater than if I wrote the entire thing in one week-long bout, as I used to do.

Jonathan said...

Yes, there's that. I get insights even on my worst days of writing, when I am concentrating at half strength. The beauty is that you are writing slower, but actually get more written, and with better ideas.