On Working Hard

People sometimes use the word “lazy” as though it were a psychological explanation, but it’s really just a description of behavior. Why do so many creative people produce so little work? Some blame practical issues involving time, tools, and distractions but many creators have surmounted far greater obstacles. Most pop-psych explanations stress laziness vs. self-discipline, but one book on artist psychology called that a red herring: it said the real tension is between fear and enthusiasm.

In any event, my dawdling days are (thankfully) long gone. In recent years I’ve had the opposite problem: working too long hours, too obsessively, not stopping until my mind turns to a blur. I’m searching for the middle road that relies on “flow” rather than obsession.