The Clockwork Muse

The Clockwork Muse : A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations and Books

3.79 (191 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This text offers a plan to help those who have blanched at the prospect of finishing a long piece of writing. Eviatar Zerubavel describes how to set up a writing schedule and regular work habits that should take most of the anxiety and procrastination out of long-term writing, and even make it enjoyable. Zerubavel argues that the dreaded "writer's block" often terms out to be simply a need for a better grasp of the temporaral organization of work. This book rethinks the writing process in terms of time and organization. It offers writers a simple yet comprehensive framework that considers such cariables as when to write, for how long, and how often, while keeping a sense of momentum throughout the entire project. It shows how to set priorities, balance ideals against constraints, and find the ideal time to write.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 137.16 x 205.74 x 10.16mm | 181.44g
  • HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 2 tables
  • 0674135865
  • 9780674135864
  • 116,656

Review quote

Eviatar Zerubavel takes issue with books on research and writing that imply that checklists and synopses of resources and literary texts are all the equipment a writer requires to start a research project. In The Clockwork Muse, he assumes that writer's block is natural, pervasive, and tends to prevail regardless of an individual's ability, ideas, and resources. He argues, therefore, that any writer's first task is to insure himself against this paralyzing condition by commanding the 'procedural', not the 'material', aspects of producing a manuscript. The basis of his philosophy is 'temporal organization': self-disciplined planning--'methodicalness and routinisation'--result in manuscripts written well and on time. -- Gregory LeStage Times Higher Education Supplement Zerubavel understands that the writing mind is inherently perfectionist and that writing is a strangely and dangerously self-engrossing process. His advice ranges from simple time-management schemes--so simple yet so hard to observe--to important tips about how to exploit the computer. The computer, however comfy for those wild writings beloved by the Camerons among us, is essentially an editing tool: a tool of self-criticism. Zerubavel emphasizes that the writing life is actually a life of self-editing, of revision. That is why it is hard; that is why it is exciting. Not just for academics, The Clockwork Muse belongs on every real writer's desk. -- Tom D'Evelyn Providence Sunday Journalshow more

About Eviatar Zerubavel

Eviatar Zerubavel is Professor of Sociology and director of the graduate program at Rutgers University.show more

Table of contents

* Acknowledgments 1. The Clockwork Muse 2. The Writing Schedule * Setting Priorities * The Writing Session * A Time to Write * Ideals and Constraints * Quiet Times * Keeping Your Momentum * A-Time and B-Time 3. A Mountain with Stairs * Divide and Conquer * The Outline * Drafts and Revisions 4. The Project Timetable * Estimating Length * Pacing Yourself * Deadlines 5. The Mechanics of Progress * Getting Started * Moving Along * Closing * Storage and Retrieval * Road Maps and Benchmarks * Discipline and Flexibility * Notes * Indexshow more

Review Text

The romantic ideal conjures up an image of the author, creativity in full flow, turning out screeds. But the key to effective writing is planning, and the secret of success lies in organization, as this author shows. Discipline and flexibility are necessities, plus a calendar and calculator to check the time available. There are outlines on how to monitor a week's progress to judge optimum working time, including odd spare moments to tackle other tasks such as filing. Another good idea is to use wallcharts to work out the time available, making progress visible. This short and handy guide contains all you need to know. (Kirkus UK)show more
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