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22 July 2008

My Book: Organizing my jumbled thoughts

As I started to organize the labyrinth of my thoughts, I tried to identify a strong "theme" from my outline. At this point, I began to:

Rank my research material; making the most important, the important and the least important or useless material. Later I used these rankings to decide where to put the emphasis. The rankings also helped me later choose a title for my book.

Next, I struggled to minimize the length. I knew that in order to be engaging, I had to avoid repetition, be concise, state general problems or solutions and then lead to a specific conclusion.

My book had to be a verbal sketch of my deepest thoughts, so I could not be casual or careless with the choice of my words. I had to use them frugally and carefully.

Writing in a way forced me to examine and reorder your thoughts. At this stage I was not imposing order; rather I was just arranging my thoughts in a random order. I was indeed allowing my mind to think freely of ideas/items that related to my topic. The order came much later. Rather it evolved on its own through this brain storming process. I brainstormed, not with another person, but my own self. Often, I chose my girlfriend as my staunchest critic. Since I wanted to persuade my readers, brainstorming served as a free exploration, it helped the process. It helped establish norms of relevance, logic and clarity. All this enabled me to catalogue things that were most important to my purpose - a way of classifying everything you know about the topic into two categories: information that belongs to my book from one that didn’t. I was conscious of the fact that throughout this painful process, I remained committed to a definite plan - a direction, scope, sequence, tone and level of difficulty that I wanted to establish in my book.

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