Like Writer A, I had many ideas, all interconnected. When I tried to write a book to express some of these ideas, I soon became mired down. For at least three years, I floundered, struggling to place my story and insights in a logical sequence any reader could follow.
It was a battle, because most of my attempts to order my ideas, or to eliminate some of them, required me to judge their relative importance. This felt impossible because they all seemed equally significant to me. Only one thing helped.
At this stage of my writing life, I was rediscovering the value of practice writing. I wrote for practice every day, often for as long as 20 minutes at a time. These practice sessions were a huge relief—as though I’d opened a valve through which all my miscellaneous ideas and insights could flow. Many had no connection with the current writing project; in general I had a chronic surplus of ideas anyway.
However, after several months of writing for practice only—not attached to any project—I began to notice a subtle change in the book I was struggling with. The ideas began to sort themselves out and fall into place.
Of course I recommended practice writing to Writer A, but he felt that he didn’t have time for it. He continued to write mega-essays that attempted to integrate a tiny percentage of all he’d learned and thought about. I’ve always felt that his writing was worth reading, despite the hindrance of his own high intelligence.