Edward De Bono — How to Write a Book

Posted: March 18, 2015 in graffiti living, links
Tags: , , ,

The first stage is to sit down and write random notes, one after the other, as rapidly as possible. Use a fresh sheet of paper for each new strain of thought.

The next stage is to go back, read the notes and pick out subheadings and chapters. Number the chapters and at the top of each sheet of notes, put the number of the chapter it will go in.

Put the sheets, organised into chapters, in one of thsoe books with transparent plastic leaves.

Pick a chapter, revise your notes and sit down and write.

The main thing is to keep the style as simple as possible, without all the qualifiers and subclauses and exemptions that can clog up a textbook. You’re dealing with the by-and-large rather than with the absolute. Also avoid adjectives as much as possible. The aim is not to have everything so detailed that it becomes very boring to write it all down. You want to surprise yourself as well as the reader. That is the fun of writing. When you start a sentence, you may not know how that sentence is going to end. You’re after a dynamic flow rather than a series of static points. Treat it like running along a stony beach. Don’t try to keep your balance on each stone, but keep your balance by thinking about the way you’re going to step on to the next stone.

The key thing is the discipline not to try and make it perfect. Never reread anything. Once you start reading it over, you modify one ting and then the next thing doesn’t balance and you have to adjust that, rather like trimming sideburns.

Of course you’ve got to have thought about the subject before. That way you write very fast. The average book should take about four days from beginning to end, but you get faster with practice. I have written 53 books, which have been translated into 20 languages. My forthcoming book, A Textbook of Wisdom — how to be wise without waiting until you’re 70 years old — was written on the plane between London and Mexico.

Edward De Bono


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