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Making Time to Make: Bad Correspondence
Merlin Mann | Aug 5 2008
This article is Part 1 of a 3-part series about attention management for people who do creative work called, Making Time to Make.
Over the years, novelist Neal Stephenson (wiki), has had at least a couple different pages where he's explained why he's chosen to limit the access he provides via email, interviews, and phone calls. It appears to be something he's given a lot of thought to.
Via Jessamyn, here's an Archive.org mirror of an older version of his page where he explains his introversion and need to stay focused on his work, alongside FAQs that answer many of the questions he typically has to field. Read it all though. It's pretty good. Stephenson's bottom line?
And here's another well known piece, Stephenson's "Why I am a Bad Correspondent", in which he lays out more details about why he's chosen to create an expectation based on guarding his attention so slavishly:
He closes with a practical summation of why he's made the decisions he has:
As I read all this, I hear a man saying (at least in my words), "I can either be a guy who writes novels, or I can be a guy who answers email. Realizing I cannot be both, I've made the decision, and now I live with it."
Like it or hate it, Neal Stephenson's position is clear and well-articulated. If a bit pitched, it's a stance I admire, and frankly I think it's an only slightly more extreme version of a position every maker needs to define if he or she expects to create the time to keep making anything.
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