I’m making pretty good progress on the conscientiousness project, so I may start writing in a more serious way pretty soon. My output, tone, and signal-to-noise have changed in a pretty obvious way over the last couple of years, and especially so during the project.
Seems that writing nonfiction requires only 1) an organized bibliography and 2) an ax to grind. The first is for plagiarizing, and the second is for crafting a cohesive “angle” on the subject that preferably makes the whole business more interesting than a string of unrelated trivia.
(I’m also thinking about doing fiction, eventually, but I doubt I’ll be any kinda shape for it until I’m at least 35, and 45’s more like.)
Well, it’s pretty easy for me to come up with axes to grind, what with all the wrongheadedness out there just waiting for a special snowflake like me to come along and fix it. So let’s just assume that I’ll keep getting ideas at the usual rate and hope that the conscientiousness thing holds on in the meantime.
That means I need to figure out the research-and-plagiarism side of things. Far as I can tell, that means reading a bunch on the same topic, summarizing a bunch, and reorganizing all the little summaries along the grain of the grindstone. AQ and associative horizon (anybody else getting tired of that clunky term?) means I’m covered on the first bit, conscientiousness covers the latter bits, so once again it looks like all I have to do is learn how to manage a bibliography.
Being the freewheeling, devil-may-care sort, I don’t have anything particularly in mind for a subject. So I’m just going to start collecting sources within my field of interest and experiment with the art of summarizing (and the science of the précis). Maybe halfway through I’ll have the uninteresting stuff out of the way and realize what the topic was.
To that end, I tentatively propose a goal of spending 30 minutes per non-workday on bibliography creation and organization, and 30 minutes further on summaries.