Currently Reading: How to Write A Lot

Thanks to a colleague who mentioned the book on Twitter, I have been reading How To Write A Lot: A practical guide to productive academic writing by Paul J. Silvia. It is a quick read, written a bit tongue in cheek (imo), and quite honestly, hasn’t quite rocked my world with new information.  The key points I’ve taken away so far (and I admit to being just over halfway through the book)

  1. schedule writing time and stick to it.
  2. write goals down. This is a two part-er – general “write x paper”, “grant proposal” etc, then the smaller tasks w/in each goal as well as “write X # of words a day….(which I recall a few colleagues using a web app for this …)
  3. Track progress: this one I liked a lot – not because I haven’t thought about it before (I like the writing a list and checking boxes off), but because he suggests using SPSS or excel to track progress so you can make charts and see progress in percentages etc — and I like charts!
  4. Start a writing group of peers (been there, done that – have had both great and not so great  – or rather productive – writing groups).
  5. Reward completion. This one I really like – I never really thought about “rewarding” work I SHOULD be doing ….

As I said, I am not done reading the book – I am not on the chapter about writing well –  and I haven’t learned the “secret” to being a productive writer – I was hoping there would be a magic formula …my problem is never the in the planning, but always in the follow-through… I make the best budgets in the world!! 😉

If anything, the book is good for a few hearty chuckles thanks to Silvia’s candid writing style.

*Update (March 27)

I finished the book today, and have to say, I enjoyed it much more from chpt 5 on – where he talks about style, how to write journal articles, books, co-authoring etc in APA style (my style of choice and intellectual upbringing). There are a few nuggets in the last few chapters, but my first summary stands – still no secret to writing a lot other than the “put butt to chair and ‘git’er done'” as I was so eloquently told while writing my dissertation.

Evil Candy Crush

Yes. King is a slimy kind of entrepreneur that does not care about fostering community and developing a relationship with their players. And don’t get me started on the whole trying to copyright the word Candy – which thankfully (as far as this article goes, has been retracted). And the whole game industry hates King, and everyone is raging on about the evils of addictive gameplay and the how it forces the player to participate in the pay-to-play model…(which, btw, is not new as many of these articles mention but rarely have I seen such venom written about the other games that follow the P2P model…. mmo’s included)…

I am not defending King. I don’t like the claim to ownership to an idea that is clearly not original. I am not disagreeing that their game is addictive (much in the same way that Bejeweled and Tetrisw was for me… and any other puzzle type game that sucks me in beyond normal play habits)! But what I AM tired of reading about is how King – and Candy Crush are evil because it FORCES people to pay for their game in order to advance (regardless off some tongue in cheek articles…). That they lure people with the free game and then FORCE people to pay to get ahead (isn’t this the ENTIRE PAY TO PLAY MODEL!?!?!). So the leveling up process requires the player to wait 30 minutes to regain a life and not power-ups, which were “earned” in the early levels disappeared (although they did introduce the daily spin …yay ;-)). Many articles claim that it is IMPOSSIBLE to progress without paying money to King. That you NEED these power ups to progress and that waiting 30 minutes for a life to regen is impossible since evil King designed the game to be addictive.

I made it to lvl 519 without shelling out a cent. There are many ways to accomplish this without giving out my credit card information …. of course, one could wait the 30 minutes to play one (potentially short) game. One could choose to play ‘for fun’ and as such not worry about how far ahead they get, or – if you choose more subversive methods, there are ways to have more lives when you want them, etc…. (sharing? cheating?, ‘using’ your networks?) so many other ways to get ahead besides paying the evil company that forces you to play their game. I am not saying I don’t want to blaze through Candy Crush for my own personal, addictive puzzle-game obsessed reasons – but I do have AGENCY .. and that is the ONE thing all these articles seem to miss the boat on. Like blaming casinos for gambling addictions (and video games!) – the addiction and choice to pay to play falls on to the back of the player, never – in my opinion – the game – no matter how evil the company is!