Creating More Effectively

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The blog post is on the long side, but a writer who, like myself, has a baby in her home, describes what she did to improve her writing output. Although she is a fiction writer, her advice is general enough to be helpful for almost anyone involved in creative work who faces little time and many distractions. I'll simply list the name of each side of her strategic "triangle" and advise you to follow the above link if you think it could be helpful:

  1. Knowledge, or Know What You're Writing Before You Write It
  2. Time [This includes setting time aside, guarding it ferociously, and tracking its use. --ed]
  3. Enthusiasm [I think knowledge and self-awareness are crucial to developing this. --ed]
Interestingly, a key part of the "knowledge" side resembles the "Thinking on Paper" technique Jean Moroney advocates in her "Thinking Directions" curriculum.
Every writing session after this realization, I dedicated five minutes (sometimes more, never less) and wrote out a quick description of what I was going to write. Sometimes it wasn't even a paragraph, just a list of this happens then this then this. This simple change, these five stupid minutes, boosted my wordcount enormously. I went from writing 2,000 words a day to writing 5,000 words a day within a week without increasing my 5 hour writing block. Some days I even finished early. [minor edits]
I'll be able to use something from this post for at least a couple of projects I'm working on, and the timing for finding this post was fortuitous: I was close to a scheduled reevaluation of my progress and tactics for each.

-- CAV


John Drake said...

While I haven't read Ayn Rand's Art of Fiction, her Art of Non-fiction captures the importance of splitting conscious and subconscious thinking. The way this author uses "Knowledge" captures the conscious practice, which establishes the logical framework, the outline, for her writing. This frees the subconscious to write the novel. Her incredible increase in productivity is inspiring, and lays truth to the practices outline by Rand and others. Thanks for sharing Gus. It has inspired me to do better.

Gus Van Horn said...

I'm glad you found this helpful, John. I, too, have read Rand's *Art of Non-Fiction* and was reminded of her advice by this piece. Just as reading ANF multiple times is helpful, so is getting new perspectives on the same issues it covers.