Friday, June 03, 2011

Writers' Advice

Steve Silberman is in the middle of writing a book about neurodiversity, and collected advice from 23 other writers on how to get a book done effectively. The most common advice seemed to be 1) work at a consistent pace, 2) just get the writing on the page and 3) buy Scrivener. I was particularly taken with part Sylvia Boorsteins' take on the subject:

5. I do not write from the beginning to the end. I write in the order that particular parts take form in my mind and I enjoy mulling them over… I mull and mull and imagine I am explaining them to someone and then I write them down. I have the order in mind, so I write whatever part is bubbling energetically in my mind, print it out (always) and begin a stack on THE BOOK on a corner of my desk into which I can add pieces (in their proper order) as they get written and so I have a visible proof at all times that something is happening.
I think the importance of this mulling process is commonly overlooked because there's no sharply focused concept that can be used to describe it, no better verb for the mulling verb. It's a nonlinear process that resembles digestion, it's absolutely critical to creative thought, and I have no idea how one might translate it into a neurological correlate because the manipulation of the underlying representations is so vague.

No comments: