Sunday, January 11, 2009

Doctorow on Writing in the Age of Distraction

Doctorow writes in an article on Writing and Distration: "The single worst piece of writing advice I ever got was to stay away from the Internet because it would only waste my time and wouldn't help my writing. This advice was wrong creatively, professionally, artistically, and personally ..."[1] I am not sure about that one.

He also lists a few "interesting simple techniques that [he has] been refining for years." He "still sometimes feel[s] frazzled and info-whelmed, but that's rare."

I especially like these two:

  • "Short, regular work schedule."[2], and

  • "Researching isn't writing and vice-versa."

Well worth the read.

1. Thanks to Orange Crate Art for the reference. The comments to that entry are also worth a look.

2. See also my earlier Efficient Academics?.


Jeremy said...

Thanks, inspiring and useful stuff. I decided to gather the software I'd come across related to this and put it in one place:

(tho I didn't include ConnectedText, though I suppose it could fit.)

MK said...

Isn't there something wrong with the address you give? It just points to this entry.

Jeremy said...

Sorry, should be this one:

MK said...


ballantrae-reprint said...

Hello. I'm using this comment to contact you. I wonder if you would find this useful? It's a free download.
URL of this E-Book:

MK said...

Yes, I am aware of John Locke's article on a New Method of a Commonplace Book. It was very influential in the early eighteenth century. See, for instance: Yeo, Richard (2004) ‘John Locke’s “New Method” of Commonplacing: Managing Memory and Information’, Eighteenth Century Thought, 2; and Meynell, G. G. (1993) "John Locke's Method of Common-placing as seen in his Drafts and Medical Notebooks ..." Seventeenth Century 8, 245-267; and Dacome, Lucia (2004),"Noting the Mind: Commonplace Books and the Pursuit of the Self in Eighteenth-Century Britain," Journal of the History of Ideas, pp. 603-625.