How To Write A Lot

After reading How to Write a Lot by Paul J. Silvia, I found that it was a useful refresher. I already write a lot, but one of the things that keeps me going–and that helps me to write better–is that I read a lot of books like this. Even when I don’t really learn anything new, it’s a good chance to do a checkup, identify weak spots, and see where I’ve lapsed.

The new thing I learned here is to take a more expansive view of writing. I usually think of writing in terms of word counts, but I then find that I have mountains upon mountains upon words stuffed in various electronic places like Evernote, Dropbox, Asana, various Scrivener files, and so on. On several occasions, I have worked to write to a negative word count because I’ve been trying to trim something that’s just way, way too long.

I also remembered to give myself permission to write the worst first draft the world has ever seen. As the author put it, the first draft should read as if it were translated out of Icelandic by a non-native speaker.

Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft. That’s when the real work begins.


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