Friday, October 27, 2006

What I've learned so far

First, I've learned that conferences are f'n exhausting. Our flight got delayed, so we arrived very late on Wednesday night, and then had to get up before 7 for our first session. But more importantly.... the best session I went to so far was called Advanced Writing. The basic message was how much of writing is (or SHOULD be) planning. The teacher was an editor at the Texas Heart Institute, and said that she increased her writers' productivity by 50% by making her writers stick to a formula where they:
  • Spend 50% of any project's time in a planning phase, which includes first brainstorming, then researching, then creating an outline, which helps shows you where you need more information/research.
  • Spend 25% freewriting a first draft where you cannot edit it for grammar, style, etc.
  • Spend 25% editing--macro editing (making sure your points make sense and there's no redundant info) and micro editing (for grammar, word usage, etc.)

The reason the formula works is that it supposedly tricks your brain out of feeling nervous and blocked. By spending so much time in planning and no-judgment-allowed freewriting, you get yourself psyched up for the project and convince your subconscious that you can do it. In that way, I think this formula can be applied to all writing projects, be they creative or not.

I feel like there were some more gems to the session, which I'll post later after I've had some time to relax and eat dinner.

Hope everyone is having a good few days!

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Repeater said...

I'm going to give it a try. That's what I've been doing with my novel this semester. I'll knock on wood. Gotta run....

FatCharlatan said...

GREAT formula...I shall try it this week on some work projects.

Take care, have fun, and happy writing! :)

Anonymous said...

I like formulas a lot, and that one sounds really sensible as long as you know, in advance, how much time you have in total. Thanks for sharing that.

Kim G. said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'll admit, I get a bit freaked out about the whole outline or no outline argument about fiction writing. The technical writer in me says, "How can you start writing without a plan?" The creative part of me says, "How will you know how it will end before you even start - you need to get to know the characters first." I like the research element of this formula - research isn't nearly as scary as doing the actual writing.

Glad you enjoyed the conference! Can't wait to hear more.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if that applies to poets. Maybe I'll give it a try when I write on a subject that requires research.

Glad you enjoyed the conference.