How Writers Journey to Comfort and Fluency: A Psychological Adventure

By Robert Boice | Go to book overview

6
Resilience

. . . the man who works so moderately as to be able to work constantly, not only preserves his health the longest, but in the course of the year, executes the greatest quantity of work.

Adam Smith [1]

Adam Smith, writing with the advantage of two centuries of foresight, anticipated the central theme of this book: Calm and persistent writing affords both health and productivity. He might just as well, in mentioning persistent well-being and accumulated output, have used the word "resilience."

At the end of our long journey together, writers want resilience. So, in response, I do some specific things. Instead of ending the program abruptly, for instance, I gradually "fade" program supports and stretch the times between meetings. And, not surprisingly, I encourage talk about resilience. We wonder: "Which of us will make it over the long run and which will fail?" Then we begin, in our now biweekly meetings, to look for clues in our own experiences.

Three possibilities for strengthening resilience generally come to mind. One reflects Adam Smith's observation about the value of calm pacing and brief, daily sessions in promoting persistence. Working without fatigue and with easy accumulation of output creates a base for durability. The second hint is nearly as obvious and comes from our recent exercises on audience. There we saw the potential of social networks of support and direction to keep us on track as writers. With time growing short (and the book nearing a close), I add a third source of information, about what makes for durable habits; it reflects my background in psychology.

The interventions that make learning easy and enduring are priming, prompting, and fading [2]. We already know variants of the first two. Joining the conversation of writers exemplifies priming (as in the excitement of

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How Writers Journey to Comfort and Fluency: A Psychological Adventure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction: Long Journeys for Writers xv
  • 1 - Motivation 1
  • References 39
  • 2 - Imagination 43
  • References 80
  • 3 - Fluency 83
  • References 125
  • 4 - Control 129
  • References 170
  • 5 - Audience 175
  • SUMMARY 207
  • References 209
  • 6 - Resilience 213
  • References 232
  • Conclusion: Rules for Comfort and Fluency 235
  • Selected Bibliography 247
  • Index 249
  • About the Author 253
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