Stephen King recounts being a school teacher. Jessica Lahey interviewed him on how he taught:
Lahey: You extol the benefits of writing first drafts with the door closed, but students are often so focused on giving teachers what they want and afraid of making mistakes that they become paralyzed. How can teachers encourage kids to close the door and write without fear?
King: In a class situation, this is very, very hard. That fearlessness always comes when a kid is writing for himself, and almost never when doing directed writing for the grade (unless you get one of those rare fearless kids who’s totally confident). The best thing—maybe the only thing—is to tell the student that telling the truth is the most important thing, much more important than the grammar. I would say, “The truth is always eloquent.” To which they would respond, “Mr. King, what does eloquent mean?”
King: A lot of them didn’t care; they were just hacking out assignments. For those that are sensitive and insecure, you have to combine gentleness with firmness. It’s a tightrope, particularly with teenagers. Did I have students actually bust out crying? I did. I’d say, “This is just a step to get you to the next step.”Lahey: Of course, once they have something down on paper, they are going to have to open the door and invite the world to read what they have written. How did you cope with the editing process early in your writing career, and how did you teach your students to handle feedback?
Lahey: You warn writers not to “come lightly to the blank page.” How can teachers encourage kids to come the blank page with both gravity and enthusiasm?
King: It went best for me when I could communicate my own enthusiasm. I can remember teaching Dracula to sophomores and practically screaming, “Look at all the different voices in this book! Stoker’s a ventriloquist! I love that!” I don’t have much use for teachers who “perform,” like they’re onstage, but kids respond to enthusiasm. You can’t command a kid to have fun, but you can make the classroom a place that feels safe, where interesting things happen. I wanted every 50-minute class to feel like half an hour.
There's a lot more that I liked as an English teacher and as a writer. I think "writing with the door closed" means absent outside concerns, perhaps even walled off from your personal editor. Approaching a blank page with both serious intent and eagerness is an interesting way to look at it, too.
By the way, I am a teacher who performs like I'm onstage, so perhaps I need to mature up my game.
Scientific American on spectrum disorders and creativity:
Psychoticism is characterized by impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and proneness to psychosis. Many of the items on the psychoticism scale measure oddness of thought and behavior, such as “
Neither creative cognition nor creative achievement were associated with depression ...
I love Ommwriter, others like Scrivener, but Evernote? Yes, a man wrote a book using nothing but Evernote.
One reason I used Evernote was because I kept all of my reporting notes and research in Evernote, and I wanted quick access to all that while I was writing.
It felt less clunky switching between screens in the same app than switching between Evernote and a slow-loading memory hog like Microsoft Word or the surprisingly lethargic Google Docs.
Another few reasons:
• Evernote constantly saves what you're working on and backs it up to the cloud.• I have Evernote on my phone and iPad, and it was nice to be able to pull up my draft and review it anytime anywhere.• Evernote note windows are sparse, and I like that for writing.• I've developed a "process" around turning reporting/research into writing in Evernote, and when you're doing work as open-ended as long form writing, it's nice to have some step-by-step tasks to do to ground you.