How To Write A Lot, Paul J. Silvia

Well, this is different, isn’t it?

I don’t know if I’ve reviewed a ‘productivity’ sort of book on here before, as I tend to keep that as more of a ‘work’ thing than a PPC thing, but this book actually had me laughing out loud. I kid you not, a book about how to be more productive in terms of written output (as an academic), literally had me cackling out loud at least once per chapter. I couldn’t even believe it myself.

How to Write a Lot is Silvia’s second book, the first being Write It Up. I’m reading the latter now, not having realized there was a proper order to them. I’m glad I read How to Write a Lot first though, as I am finding (as I read the other one) that it seems to be a lot more casually written. That was something I really enjoyed about it: it was memorable!

Now, the thing about this book, and the reason I decided to review it here, is that despite being geared toward academics (as I am, and as Silvia is), I’d say most of this book is absolutely relevant to any person who wants to write absolutely anything. The advice with which Silvia sallies forth is just as applicable to the aspiring novelist as it is to the junior (or senior!) academic writer, and it is written in such an easily understandable and approachable manner that it really was a delight to read. I think my absolute favourite part was Silvia’s description of binge writers (guilty!): it involved coffee grounds and printer toner and was hysterically accurate!

Now, let’s be clear: Silvia doesn’t offer some sort of magic formula for suddenly producing a lot of extra writing. He is, in fact, quite up front about that. There is not magic potion, pill, or prescription that will suddenly induce productivity in sort sort of inspired fit. What Silvia does, solidly and clearly, is show you how to make time in your existing schedule to do the writing you need to do, but usually procrastinate by “waiting until you have enough time” or until “inspiration strikes”. These are what Silvia calls specious excuses and what I would generally label a bunch of BS. This book makes a lot of solid points, in hilariously memorable form and understandable language. If you are looking to read something that might give you the boot up the ass you’ve been looking for (or need, whether looking or not), then I genuinely recommend you pick this one up and read it ASAP. I will definitely be working the advice in here into my own schedule, so we’ll see how I go!

Well worth a read, people: five stars.


Image credit: my photo, of my copy of the book.


Categories: Book Reviews, Personal Improvement

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