Sometimes you just have to get back to basics.

I've been having a tough time with the book recently. The writing has been really slow and painful. Tonight, I just didn't feel like sitting in front of the keybord for another long, frustrating session of slow writing.

So I got out a big notepad and my chapter 4 outline. I then planted my ass in the Lazy Boy recliner and began to write with my mechanical pencil. The next thing I know, it's an hour later. My stomach is hungry (dinner time) and I've got many pages of stuff--half of the remaining writing for this chapter is sitting in front of me, waiting to be keyed in.

This rocks!

After I eat, I'll try to pencil the rest of it out for another hour or so and then move on to the comparatively easy task of typing what I already have on paper.

I only wish I had thought of this sooner--like 2 months ago.

Thinking back, this makes sense. I got some of my best programming done in college this way.

Posted by jzawodn at March 02, 2003 07:59 PM

Reader Comments
# George Schlossnagle said:

Wish that worked for me. I find my best thinking and organization occurs while I lie in bed before I go to sleep.

on March 2, 2003 08:23 PM
# jr said:

Funny that. You're not the first person I've met who says that they prefer writing long hand rather than at a keyboard. I've frequently tried it myself, with disappointing results at best. I guess it's more a matter of personal preference.

Still, glad to hear you're making good progress on the book!

on March 2, 2003 08:48 PM
# Burningbird said:

Ah, nothing better than to hit that mid-point book writing burn out. Glad you hear you found a work around.

on March 2, 2003 09:00 PM
# Dave Smith said:

When I get blocked on a writing project, I retreat to some quiet place with a stack of 3x5 cards and do a brain dump. I try for one idea per card. The card size helps stay focused--it's hard to drift too far in that small a space. After filling out however many feel right, or when fatigue starts to set in, I'll arrange the cards to see what's there, and to look for gaps. Gaps often turn into questions to reasearch. The questions go onto cards. Keeping a "to research" stack can be a good way to stay at least somewhat focused.

on March 2, 2003 10:35 PM
# Basil Hussain said:

I have also, on occasion, done some programming without a computer to hand.

I was once on holiday (yes, I know, it's sad thinking about programming whilst you're supposed to be relaxing) and was struck with a brilliant thought about how to solve a particular problem.

So, I got a pad and pen, and wrote it all out. Not just concepts, mind - I sat and wrote some code too! To my even further amazement, only a few bits of syntax (function names, etc.) were wrong when I later actually came to key the code in!

on March 3, 2003 07:02 AM
# Andrew Robinson said:

I find writing the old fashioned way to be a big improvement - especially when I'm trying to get ideas out of my head. Something about the unstructured way you can just scribble all over the page, write notes in the margins, diagram things quickly.

Typing is usually just too structured to let your thoughts flow freely. Besides - scribbling out mistakes is way more satisfying than the dull *click* of the delete key. :-)

on March 3, 2003 07:31 AM
# Joe Grossberg said:

Shower shower shower.

For some reason, it leads itself to great ideas.

on March 3, 2003 10:40 AM
# Danil said:

If my hot water heater had better capacity, I'd already have a whiteboard installed in the shower.

on March 3, 2003 11:50 AM
# joat said:

I tend to think better when pacing (long distance that is). I used to work in a building that was almost 1/4-mile long, having to record room temperatures in various machinery rooms. You can get a lot of reading done (walking carefully) if you have to make rounds only once per hour.

on March 3, 2003 04:42 PM
# munger said:

Or do what Stephen King did in his early days and drink a case of beer every day while writing. His topics, however, were a little different, so milage could vary.

on March 3, 2003 08:00 PM
# rlsp said:

have you considered trying a tablet pc instead?

on March 9, 2003 04:34 PM
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