Tim Urban is prone to procrastination. He's currently avoiding writing an entry on SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. Instead, he's tinkering with the sidebar of his blockbuster blog, Wait But Why. He’s not happy about his (in)decision, which often manifests as rambling streams of consciousness in articles that run "between a long blog post and a short book." But Tim rationalizes that procrastination is part of any creative person's DNA whose thoughts are, as he puts it, “all over the place."
Wait But Why tackles current events in science, culture, and politics with the fervor and naiveté of a precocious child. Subject matter ranges from “Religion for the Nonreligious” to “How to Name a Baby” – all delivered with irreverence and illustrated with "4th grade level stick figures." Tim's ideas for stories originate from conversations with friends, or by virtue of their intrinsic silliness. Each one is added to a running list that’s about fifty pages long, and every post follows the same five steps: brainstorming, researching, outlining, writing, and drawing.
Finishing a post is like completing a marathon or birthing a baby, he explains. After writing, proofreading, and then emailing the latest missive to 160,000 readers, Tim meets up with friends, watches Netflix with his girlfriend, and enjoys a blissful, if brief, and utterly exhausted moment of relaxation—before beginning all over again.
Interviewed by Alexis Cheung