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Never Start With a Blank Page

24 October 2019

From LifeHacker:

Creative block is over, if you want it. If you’re stuck without ideas in a brainstorm or a project, you just need to use this simple system: consume things, take notes, and bring those notes with you. Here’s how to do that effectively.

Writer, performer, and Christmas elf David Sedaris says his work is more learned skill than special talent: “Everybody’s got an eye for something. The only difference is that I carry around a notebook in my front pocket.” As writing teacher David Perell explains, Sedaris takes notes on everything interesting in his life, every stray thought he’d like to explore. Every so often he sits down, reads his notes, and copies the good ones to his computer.

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Sedaris doesn’t need a brainstorming session where he sits around, trying to think of things. By the time he writes anything, he’s got all these ideas, and it’s more a matter of choosing what not to write about. He can start riffing on something he already wrote down.

Link to the rest at LifeHacker

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One Comments to “Never Start With a Blank Page”

  1. Agreed! This is an old suggestion, going back to the 1930s at least. I first learned about it from an Author & Journalist magazine interview with Robert A. Heinlein: he used index cards and eventually shuffled those cards relevant to a particular novel into plot sequence. I began accumulating notes-for-writing as a teenager, using looseleaf notebooks for years, then moved these to computer text files. Now I maintain single-chapter-draft and single-chapter-notes files for the novel in progress, plus series novels-to-be-written files, background files, and character files. Couldn’t write the kind of novels I do without them.

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