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How authors work


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It's surprising how many of those ideas, or bits of ideas, I can relate to. Not necessarily because I do what they do, but I understand the pressures that cause them to what they do.

One common theme I see here is a fear of losing an idea they've had and so writing it down as quickly as they can. I do this too. If I wait a day or even several hours and then try to reconstruct it, almost always I'm missing the spark that made it compelling in the first place. I have to write it down while it still seems vivid or it's probably lost forever.

A lot of these guys write longhand first. I can't imagine doing that. I type about three times faster than I can write, and I can read my typing no matter how fast I go. When ideas and words are flowing, I want to get them all down as rapidly as possible. I'd get frustrated trying to do it longhand because I'd lose too many thoughts in the process.

I liked the guy who writes in a small font and then has to squint at it when editing. His reason was he wanted separation between him and the words. Another writer printed it out and went to the park to read it for the same reason: so he could treat it as someone else's work, which makes editing much different. I understand that motivation entirely. If I write and edit something, then wait a month before reading it again, it looks much different than if I'd read it again the next day. Things that I knew what I was talking about when I first wrote and reread them can be easily seen as needing to be be clarified on a delayed reading because by then I'm going on just what's on the page and not relying on the vision I had when I was writing them, if that makes any sense at all.

Fun article for writers. Thanks, VWL.


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