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The Blank Screen by William Gallagher
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The Blank Screen

by William Gallagher

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Recently added byJonArnold

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Most writing books deal with the mechanics of writing itself; the why rather than the how. And most books regarding productivity are general, tailored to the widest possible audience rather than the specifics of a profession. This is a book which fills that book nicely; it's about the practical detail of writing and creating time to write which is where many writers fall down.

And it's terrific. Gallagher is thoroughly engaging, companionable rather than didactic. He makes clear that the psychology and methods he outlines may not work, but that either he's found them useful or that others have recommended them. As such this isn't prescriptive, but instead it's more like a helpful chat full of useful suggestions which you're free to use or ignore as you wish. Much if this is practical stuff though and consists of small changes rather than big drastic ones, so it's all at least worth considering at length. There are also chapters recommending the most useful hardware and software out there, something which may eventually end up dating the book but is a boon as it stands.

And does it work? Definitely. I took a few weeks to go through the book, not for length or style, but for experimenting with the advice it gives. And my writing output has shot upwards, consistent on a daily basis instead of in bursts shoehorned into the few hours not taken up with family time. Some advice has also proven practical in other jobs too. It's changed long engrained bad habits that I didn't know I had or needed correcting - even were Gallagher not so engaging! it'd be worth it for that alone, but combined with the author's natural charm it's an essential purchase for writers of all levels of experience. ( )
  JonArnold | Nov 16, 2013 |
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