Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day 8.6分
读书笔记 前三章: 从一团糟开始
牛仔蓝与酸李子

对论文写作毫无头绪、或对传统写作规则感到厌倦和崩溃的人,可能适合看这本书——很薄,没有晦涩的英文词汇,排版舒服。

前言和前两章的内容有些划水,可以跳过。事实上,前两章也没有必要看,有价值的内容几乎没有,作者强调的点也是老生常谈。贪心如我,还是咬牙把前两章看了……真实的个人感受是,当咬牙看到第二章中间时,差一点想弃。因为段落中运用了大量“你可能……你可能……你甚至……但是别怕……”的句式,让人读出了广告文案哭笑不得又垂死挣扎的意味。大量排比句和煽情的鼓励,让人有点怀疑作者没话找话=。=

所以,强烈建议,从第三章读起。

内容与书名直接呼应。简言之,要想写作上手,必须坚持每天写一点。

传统的论文写作套路似乎是:想一个题目;研究题目有关文献;开始思考;边思考边写一个outline(具体内容大家都知道啦),列I II III列123;每一段以good topic sentence开头,以一句话总结结尾;按照outline一点一点写,一点一点推理加举例,写完了放一天;回来检查语法、拼写、过渡和措辞;反复修改;完成。对此套路,作者的评价是:

I don’t think this model worked. Much of the time it led to neat, clean, boring papers, often to empty ones with good form. It very rarely produced papers that were deeply thoughtful, that had strong and distinctive voices and styles, that raised as many questions as they answered, that made you read, and reread, and then dream about the topic.

紧接着,作者借Arlo Guthrie之口,直截了当地评价道:

If you look at a piece of finished writing, all neat and orderly, and know nothing about how it actually came about, you might deduce that it was created using ‘the good old-fashioned boring model’.

(鹅……作者太会抓读者痛点了,读到这里不禁怀疑又是一波套路=。=)如此这般,论文究竟应该从何写起?作者强调的核心思想是:

First you make a mess, then you clean it up.

这种写作方式意味着:

No more neat outlines with Roman numerals to follow, no elegant topic sentences for each paragraph, maybe not even any clear sense of where you’re going.

在写作的起步阶段,

your aim is making mud pies or sandcastles rather than stone buildings,

最重要的是:遵循简单的行为规则;上瘾;每日坚持。messy phase的核心目标是:

keep it going, keep the interesting and alive associations in your brain sparking.

为了完成目标,必须control your worry,比如:

ignore your spelling, ignore sentence structure, don’t stop to hunt for words from the thesaurus, concentrate on what you’re trying to say, and see how many different ways you can say it.

当产生问题和灵感时,在文字间用不同颜色穿插记录,提醒自己。

说到这里,作者暗示了这种messy freewriting和传统写作方法的最大区别,即:前者希望灵感自由碰撞延伸,思绪不被打扰;后者要求规范的结构,条条框框会在一开始就反复打断思路,将写作者释放灵感的过程转为不断审视自己而瞻前顾后的状态。

(方法介绍到这里,我心动了……但是,疑问也冒出来了,比如,如何坚持写?万一随便写写出一坨垃圾该怎么收场?)

针对以上疑问,作者的解答是:遵循简单的行为规则,每日坚持写,最终养成习惯(上瘾)。简单说就是,

set up goals that are doable, never stop no matter what, and then reward yourself.

具体展开为三点:

1. 合理的每日目标:

作者反复强调,制定*合理的*每日目标,比如一天写2页,一天写10分钟,比一天写10页,写3小时要合理很多。同时,无论身体多么不舒服,都要完成每日的写作任务。写作与跑步一样,

If you wait to decide whether or not to run until you wake up in the morning, the odds are you won’t get your shoes on and your body out the door.

2. 必须坚持:

在这过程中,作者提出了一些必须避免的错误行为,比如,责备自己,在意他人批评,在意自己的写作水平,让自己处于反复挫败的环境里(这一点让我眼前一亮)。关于最后一点,比如,如果你曾经在厨房桌子上一个字也写不出来过,那么不要在厨房桌子上写论文。

Don’t stop for anything. Never stop to look back, to cross something out, to wonder how to spell something, to wonder what word or thought to use, or to think about what you are doing. The only requirement is that *you _never_ stop*

3. 建立正反馈(奖励):

除了避免以上错误,作者还强调了reward的重要性。正反馈让人一步一步完成小目标,最终完成大目标。甚至,作者建议尝试将写作本身训练成一种正反馈(这个厉害了)比如,如果你是一个每天不看报纸就浑身不舒服的人,那么告诫自己,不完成写作任务就不准看报纸。

此外,作者还提出了另外两点建议:

一是:

Don’t waste words. Develop the habit of always writing down those bright ideas that come to you while you’re on the run.

只要一有灵感,写下来,不放过任何想法。

二是:

Write first.

(这一点特别吸引人,因为作者在介绍这一点的时候,给出的措辞是the bit of stubbornness I most regret was that for five years I failed to take my bet writing teacher’s advice.)

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