Interview: Matt Taibbi

By PETER KADZIS  |  November 9, 2010

Here's aParis Review sort of question: how do you do a piece? What's the process?
I'll read all available articles and then start calling the principals. I interview a bunch of people superficially. I search around until I find somebody who has the same sense of humor as I do and who is able to explain things in a way that I understand. I usually spend a lot of time with that person and that person's acquaintances and friends. I try as quickly as possible to immerse myself in their community, to see their jobs from their point of view. Once I feel like I get it, that's when I start writing.

When you're writing, do you have a routine? Say, three cups of black coffee at 8 am and then chained to your desk for eight hours?
I'm a tremendous procrastinator. I try to figure out exactly how much time it'll take me to write something. Then I wait until exactly that amount of time is left on the clock before deadline. Then I start. I build up this huge reserve of panic before I start working. It's better than coffee or drugs — which I've also tried in the past. Panic, pure unadulterated panic, is the best pharmaceutical for writing.

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