How Do I Write? (The December 2011 Edition)

December 7th, 2011

Glenn Cohen offers 11 tips about how he writes. I think #1 is a good start, but four monitors is better than one big monitor. The bit about a stable of 9 RAs is pretty cool.

Back in 2009 I offered some suggestions on how I write. Let me amend those here.

In large measure, I treat my blog as a virtual workshop. If I ever have an idea, no matter how small, I write a blog post. Usually, I’ll have some more thoughts about it, and write a second, or third blog post. At that point I create a category for that topic, so I can lump all the related ideas together. Then I might email some academic friend that idea and see what they think. Profs are much more inclined to give feedback promptly on a short blog post than a lengthy article. Once I get to a critical mass of blog posts (maybe 2,000 words total) I start a new Google Doc and create an outline. The outline is originally oriented around the blog posts, but this changes. Then, I transform the outline into a fleshy outline in another Google Doc. In some cases, I make that Doc publicly available as I liveblog a law review article. Once the article gets to a certain length, I have to put it into MS Word, bc Google sucks at footnotes and formatting. From that point I’m usually almost done. The time to ramp up actually writing the article is quite small. I can usually do the bulk of the writing after the preliminary work in a week or so (Don’t tell anyone but I wrote the bulk of my job-talk piece in about 72 hours). All the while I continue blogging to develop ideas, see what other people are writing on similar topics, and add. A big portion of what I do is reading other blog posts and absorbing knowledge. Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell.