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My namesake doesn’t seem to understand the principles of decision analysis

On the cover, it says “Never miss another deadline.” But if you really could never miss your deadlines, you’d just set your deadlines earlier, no? It’s statics vs. dynamics all over again.

That said, this advice seems reasonable:

The author has also developed a foolproof method of structuring your writing, so that you make effective use of your time. It’s based on the easy-to-remember three-step formula: Pre-write, Free-write, Re-write. Pre-write refers to researching the necessary information. Free-write refers to getting the information onto the computer screen. Re-write refers to the essential task of editing the writing into clear readable text. This technique allows writers to become the editors of their own writing, thereby dramatically improve its quality.

I haven’t actually read or even seen this book, but maybe I should take a look, as it is important to me that my students learn how to write effectively. A bit odd to choose a book based on the author’s last name, but that’s serendipity for you.


  1. WB says:

    I like William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. It’s filled with great practical advice to tighten your prose.

  2. Rahul says:

    My dad makes it to the airport 3 hours before the flight time. He’s never ever missed a flight. But he continues….

  3. numeric says:

    Sounds like what they teach kids in 9th grade. Evidently a number of adults didn’t learn it then and need to learn it now.

  4. Eric Novik says:

    I really like Stephen King’s On Writing. He has this cool example towards the end where he shows the first draft of a story and then his own handwritten edits.

  5. BMGM says:

    Have you heard of the MOOC, Writing in the Sciences?
    This course is so good, I recommend it to non-scientists as well.

    She estimates that she spends her journal article writing time thusly:
    80% prewriting (includes making tables and graphs, assembling references)
    10% free writing
    10% editing and re-editing.

    I had a hard time getting started on my Phd thesis. My advisor told me to just free-write and we would edit it together. Once I got permission to free-write, I got it done in a month. He and my 2nd reader said it needed hardly any editing. Getting permission to free-write was all it took to get over my mental block.

  6. Chris G says:

    With apologies to Ratatouille, “Not everyone can be a great writer but a great writer can come from anywhere.”

  7. Steve Sailer says:

    “Pre-write, Free-write, Re-write.”

    It’s an interesting formula in that it skips Outlining.

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