I read somewhere recently, can’t remember where now, that procrastination is a much misunderstood condition. Rather than simply being a way for word-shy writers to avoid getting down to it (whatever it is), procrastination is in fact a valuable resource for creativity. The act of procrastinating makes the space and the energy (may have made that bit up) for new ideas and words to emerge and for bursts of creativity to occur.
So what better excuse need I, an inveterate word-shy wordsmith to set up a blog? Infinitely preferable to poke around the bits and pieces of wordpress.com than sit at my laptop not writing glorious, or any other kind, of prose. And if the pay-off is aforementioned glorious prose emerging as if from nowhere then who am I to complain?
There is a rather more substantial root to this sudden growth of interest in blogging. And that is the small matter of a book that has been ‘forthcoming’ for rather too long. So long in fact that the dear dear publisher who commissioned it has retired. And I am in need of something drastic to make me attend to it.
It’s not that I don’t want to write the book, though that was probably true for a while until enough time had passed for me to revise the proposal in a way that reflected what I really think needs to be written about and for no one else to really notice the shift. It’s not that I haven’t had advice and support from colleagues about how I might ‘just get on with it’ including most recently a rather insistent and persistent voice telling me to ‘shut up and write’ using a version of ‘The Pomodoro Technique’. And I don’t have writer’s block, while I am not a speedy writer like my remarkable colleagues Helen Dickinson and Sara Bice for whom the word prolific seems insufficient, I do publish regularly and in a range of media.
It’s rather more that this book is a solo venture. I am fine with that from the standpoint of determining the contents and the style and the sources. But I rarely work alone and my preferred state is a collaborative one. And I have been lucky enough to have been in the way of lots of opportunities in my career to develop new collaborative projects, teams, programs and most recently a School – the Melbourne School of Government. So however much I want to write the book – and I do – I am so much more comfortable working with others to write, research, teach or build institutions.
Ironically of course the book is all about collaboration – collaboration and public policy to be precise. It draws on the wide range of research and other evidence I have gathered over the years to consider some of the under considered aspects of collaboration and public policy and to make the case for why we should understand them better.
So this blog is the latest attempt to get and keep me on track. Let’s see where procrastinating regularly on this site gets me.