Rajesh Kumar

Optimizing life, one day after the next

ROT for Writing

18 Mar 2007

I seem to be pretty good coming up with general rule of thumbs (ROTs) these days.

Here's one for today.

If you feel qualified enough to write about something, you should have read at least ten times of how much you are going to produce. And not ten times of anything, but ten times of material that is, at minimum, of equal caliber to what you are going to produce.

For example, if you are set to write a PhD dissertation of about 10,000 words, you must have read at least ten other PhD dissertations that are better than what you are set to produce.

Now what if there is no work that is better in quality to the one you are going to produce? What if you're all set to produce material of the highest quality there is out there?

Ahh, in that case the general rule of thumb would be that you need to have read at least forty times the amount you are going to produce by your writing.

So if I'm all geared to write the best-of-the-best top-notch literary novel there is, I must make sure I've at least read forty literary novels in the same category that are each only an ounce less better than what I'm going to write.

That is, an increase of a factor of four.

So if I think I want to be a voracious writer, I need to be a voracious reader first.

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