Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sowell's Writing Technique

Economist and prolific author Thomas Sowell gives some advice to writers. An excerpt:

Instead of trying to be someone that you are not, be the best at what you are. My own writing practices are the direct opposite of that followed by these prolific and renowned writers. I write only when I have something to say. The big disadvantage of this is that it can mean a lot of down time. There are manuscripts of mine that sat around gathering dust for years without a word being added to them. How then have I managed to write more than 20 books within the Biblical threescore and ten years?

My own particular idiosyncracy is writing several books at once. I may reach the point where I have nothing whatever to add to a manuscript on Marxism or affirmative action, but am bursting with things to say about late-talking children. I go with what has seized my attention and inspired my thoughts at the time. There are days, perhaps even weeks, when I have nothing worth saying in print about anything. I keep a backlog of unpublished newspaper columns on hand to send out to the syndicate during such times, while I go to Yosemite or just hang around the house printing photographs or otherwise trying to keep out of mischief.

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