Practice Session #4 - Evan Pricco
Trusting your routine
We recently had the pleasure of asking the Editor in Chief and Web Editor at Juxtapoz, Evan Pricco, a few questions about the importance of routine in his writing practice. Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine is one of the most influential magazines in art, design, digital art, photography, and creative culture in the United States. Evan has been part of documenting history with Juxtapoz for over sixteen years of the magazines twenty year life, and we are privileged to get a peek behind how he gets it all done.
On Tuesday, April 13th, from 4-5 pm PDT Evan will be joining us for a talk and Q&A session, RSVP here.
What would you say is your consistent creative practice? Do you adhere to a routine or ritual?
Does coffee count? I like to get started right away, every morning. Coffee and write. That keeps me in a good routine of just being ready everyday. I'm definitely a creature of habit, and I will drop everything if I find even a bit of creative inspiration or a sentence I know is exactly how I want to start an essay or interview, but it definitely begins as soon as I wake up. One consistency is that I definitely finish something when I start it when it comes to writing a piece. I don't like breaks when I'm rolling.
I'm also a huge proponent of trying something yourself before passing along an assignment/project. That way I'm also engaged, and I didn't realize this was part of my practice until recently. I like to really understand a project and the hardships, and that is how I keep my routines fresh.
I also always have a plan that is set up for a disaster or last minute change. Always. If a story falls out, I have 3 or 4 backups copyedited and ready to go. I'm always prepared like that. And that has been a part of my practice; be ready for the curve ball that is beyond your control.
What personal tips do you have to feel positive and optimistic when you are working, especially when you are creating on a deadline.
I am 100% someone who relies on, and reminds himself, that I have done this before. That pressure, stress, pit in my stomach... I know I have felt it before and I just understand these feelings are part of the process. That seems simplistic, but I think that's how the great athletes and probably other artists handle it; I have been here before: I have practiced this all the time.
And I think this goes back to trying something first yourself before passing along an assignment. I feel like I can have better conversations and remain a problem solver when talking to others about what the goals are.
How has your pre-established practice and routines helped you through these more uncertain and trying times?
I think because I was so used to working in hotel rooms, sometimes late at night or early in the morning, that I had myself a little bit of a toolkit for the last year. I was a bit ready to be uncomfortable and uncertain of where my time to be creative would come. And, again, this sounds simplistic, I'm a diabetic, and a magazine editor. Time, schedules, routines, deadlines, they are ingrained into every single thing I do. If you wake up every day knowing you have to eat a certain way, test your blood, take insulin, and you were used to adapting to new time zones while having to stay healthy, you sort of have the toolkit to handle a bit of unpredictable creative stress.
How do you handle emotions while you work? Stress can often lead to a stunted practice, or it could make you break out of your funk. What sort of steps in your practice are geared toward harnessing and supporting your emotions?
I'm very bad at this. I will admit it. I can get very emotional. I think because I'm dealing with emotional content that isn't mine I get even more stressed. But there is actually something so relieving in having a hard deadline. You have to finish a magazine on time. There's no other option. That's why I just wake up and get at it right away. Because you sort of get into that mode of "you can do this, you have done this, let's do it again."
Right now I'm trying to finish our Spring 2021 Quarterly. I have a week to go. There is a lot that's not in. But, I've done this for 15 years and the issue that is due after Christmas and New Year's is always like this. People are slow to get going in January, even if they have some resolution to not be like that, haha. That's something that makes me calm down a little. You are just in the midst of the process that is always like this. It will get done because you have set it up where you always have a plan.
Why do you love what you do? How does this play into your existence on Earth?
I think when you are doing the job you always wanted to do and are able to do for 16 years you kind of love what you do. I always wanted to work in print. As a kid, I would read these long form profiles in magazines and just be enamored with that sort of life as a journalist. I wanted to be part of history making. Not me myself, but be part of the process of history being documented. And not only that, but changing the way the history books are written. To profile a creative person or a movement and help change people's perspectives the way that great writers did to me. Again, that sounds like hyperbole but that is what drives me and plays into how I want to live my time.