A Microinterview with Casey Schwartz

Casey Schwartz is a freelance writer and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications. She is the author of Attention: A Love Story, a memoir that explores the science and history of the modern attention economy.

We recently caught up with her for a micro interview to discuss her experience writing the book, her thoughts on the attention economy, and what advice she has for aspiring authors.

Casey shared her insight on the importance of refining our attention and focusing on the things that matter most, while also recognizing the difficulty of managing our attention in the digital age.

Her experience as a writer offers valuable insight into the writing process and the challenges of balancing work, life, and creativity. Read on to discover Casey’s advice for writers, her thoughts on the attention economy, and how she finds balance in her own life.

Introducing Casey Schwartz

Casey Schwartz is a freelance writer and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications. She is the author of Attention: A Love Story, a memoir that explores the science and history of the modern attention economy.

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Slate, and other publications.

Her work has been featured in notable anthologies, including The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, The Best American Essays, and The Best American Travel Essays. She is also the cohost of The Loom, a podcast about weaving, knitting, and other textile arts.

Casey’s Experience Writing Attention: A Love Story

In writing Attention: A Love Story, Casey aimed to take a complicated subject, the attention economy, and make it accessible and relatable. She wanted people to understand how they are affected by the way we currently use technology.

Casey began writing the book in 2015, just as the first wave of attention economy stories began to emerge. She found that she was too close to the topic at the time, and so she set the book aside for a year. When she came back to the project, she was able to see it through with more objectivity.

The attention economy is complicated, but Casey believes that it is something we can all make an effort to understand. We all have a responsibility to interrogate the systems that surround us in order to make better decisions about our lives.

Casey’s Thoughts on the Attention Economy

The concept of attention is fundamental to human experience, yet it often goes unquestioned. We need to think critically about the way we spend our time in order to make sure that we are spending it well.

We need to identify our attentional blind spots and make decisions about how we are spending our time and what we are getting out of it.

The attention economy is the economic system that shapes how we use our attention. It is the conglomeration of apps, devices, and services that we employ to organize and prioritize our attention.

Attention is an important concept to understand because it is intimately connected to productivity, happiness, and mental health.

Casey’s Advice for Aspiring Authors

Casey’s advice for aspiring authors is to take the time to hone their craft. This can include practicing the act of writing, reading widely and critically, engaging with other writers and editors, and studying the history of the written word.

It can also include gaining work experience, like taking an internship at a publication, working as a copy editor, or getting involved with a writer’s group.

The path to publication is often long and complicated, so it is important to make time and space for the process. Writers should also remind themselves that it is okay to be patient with themselves and the process.

Writing is a craft that takes time and practice to master, and it is important to meet the writing process where you are and not put too much pressure on yourself.

Understanding the Challenges of the Digital Age

The digital age has ushered in a host of new challenges. From information overload to the addictive nature of our devices, the internet has changed the way we live, learn, and communicate.

It has opened up new opportunities, but it has also created new challenges. Whenever you create a system, there is always the potential for it to go awry. Humans are fallible, and we are constantly trying to come up with new ways to do things.

At the same time, we also have a tendency to simply replicate what we have done before. We often do not recognize the ways our systems and devices might be harmful.

The internet has been a hugely beneficial invention, but it has also brought new problems with it. We need to be willing to identify these challenges and work towards solving them. This is not a simple process, but it is an important one.

Balancing Creativity and Productivity

There is no trick to balancing productivity and creativity. The key is to recognize that you need both and that it is okay to think about them as discrete things.

Productivity is a skill you can practice and improve upon, while creativity is something you can turn on and off. It is important to recognize these differences and make sure that you are giving each the attention it deserves.

It is also important to recognize that these things are not mutually exclusive. It is not a binary system in which you have to either be productive or be creative.

You can do both at the same time. One way to do this is to create time and space for creativity during your day. You don’t have to be a full-time artist to do this. Sometimes it can simply mean listening to music, reading a poem, or meditating.


The internet has been a great tool for connectivity, communication, and collaboration, but it has also had unintentional side effects. It can be easy to get lost in the digital world and become disconnected from the people and things around us.

When we start to feel like things are getting too hectic or that we are falling into the trap of always being plugged in, it is important to take a step back. We can do this by turning off our devices and spending time unplugged or by taking advantage of the digital tools available to us.

The internet has been a tremendous invention and a source of immense opportunity and growth. However, we also need to recognize its potential to be harmful if we are not careful.

By understanding the attention economy and how it works, we can make better decisions about how we spend our time and work towards a healthier and more productive relationship with technology.


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