Summary of The Clockwork Muse by Eviatar Zerubavel

  • Collect copious notes during your research. Do not research while writing. Writing should be an uninterrupted activity. Sit down with a printout of your outline and your notes on the section that is being written. Focus.
  • Fix a time to write. Time when you will be undisturbed. Time that is long enough to get you into the flow state. Time that is short enough to maintain your attention. Time when your creative energy is at its peak. Time that you are likely to keep sacred for writing, no matter what.
  • Build an outline. Chapters. Sections. Paragraphs. Important points you wish to cover. And then build those up into full form sentences. Do the outlining in your B-time not your primary writing time.
  • Design a schedule based on your outline. Allocate pages to chapters and sections. Allocate time for pages. Stick to this schedule. Keep moving. Usually, plan for 1 to 2 pages of draft writing per day.
  • Underestimate your abilities and overestimate the writing task.
  • Write many revisions. Decide the number of drafts you will make apriori. Five is a good number. Finish you first draft as fast as you can. Second draft is a complete rewrite. Third is refinement. Fourth is polishing. Fifth is minor fixes.
  • Write linearly. Do not write in circles. Start a paragraph. Finish it. Move to the next. Do not rewrite, while you are writing. Do not critique till you have reached the very end. The next draft will ensure you will revisit.
  • Impose a deadline and move away from your manuscript when you reach it. Move to you next project.