Here is my procedure for writing -- an activity that I often dread because it can be such hard work. Maybe you will find it useful. I was trained as a mathematician, and I approach writing as if it were a mathematical proof. I am usually trying to persuade people of something. Knowing that people aren't very rational, I wonder why I am trying to reason with them! Some day I need to study what makes writing persuasive....

How to Write


1.  1. Collect all your ideas on paper (notes), preferably 8 1/2 x 11".
2. Read them over & over, until you know what is in them.
3. Make a logical outline of all of the ideas, in the order that they should be presented, e.g. numbered from 1 to 10. Reread all of your ideas, to make sure that all of them can fit into some part of the outline.
4. Number all of your ideas (from 1 to 10) as to where they fit in that outline.
5. Read all of the ideas numbered #1, until they are all in your head.
6. Write the first sentence of your essay, making sure that it is going in the right direction. Cross off the ideas included in it from your notes.
7. Repeat until all #1 ideas have been included.
8. Repeat for the #2 ideas. Etc.

9. Sleep on it! The brain reworks its contents in your sleep. Never finalize your writing until you’ve slept on it.

Any questions? Please read _Elements of Style_. It is the best writing tool I know. It stresses brevity. If you like, read the recent _Elements of F*cking Style_, which is a parody of it, and is very funny. Interesting writing advice from Ray Bradbury: See also Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher. I found it very helpful.


My favorite writers:


Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Walt Whitman


John Steinbeck