Lipton’s Journal/February 10, 1955/558

From Project Mailer

I have come to a conclusion about work. Which is that I must desert my old obsession with not getting overwhelmed and doing but one job at a time no matter how slow and painful it was, and instead I must take on a number of projects, novels, stories, articles, books-to-read, etc., and whenever I feel bored or worn out with one, I must leave it for the next.[1] That way I think I could tap far greater productivity.

The key of course is to be concerned with the act of working itself rather than its issue or product. One reason I have gone at such a great rate in this journal is that I have not been much concerned with publishing it. If I ever decide to publish it which means revising, rewriting, censoring, etc. it will become slow hard and anxious work.


  1. Mailer took this advice and for the rest of his life worked on several projects simultaneously. Even when deep into writing a long work like Ancient Evenings (1983), he interrupted it to write an even longer one, The Executioner’s Song.