The Sponge Theory of Writing

Answering the question, "What's your writing process?"
Apr | 11 | 2013

Apr | 11 | 2013


spongeWhat’s your writing process?”

It’s one of the questions that I’m most frequently asked. I explain to people that my writing process best described as sponge-like.

Let me explain.

I’m constantly absorbing material, whether it’s blog posts, videos, podcasts, books, or actual in-person conversations. (Remember those?) More often than not, that material tends involve data, management, technology, and people. (See tagline of this site.) It’s not as if I read a great deal about 17th-century French poetry, reality television, or life in Madagascar. There’s a high degree of overlap between what I read and what I write. Finally, it doesn’t hurt that I speak about these topics.

Let’s just say that the contents of my brain are not equally distributed.

The contents of my brain are not equally distributed.

Eventually, the sponge gets full. It can’t hold any more water and I have to squeeze it. Keeping with the metaphor, out comes a book in a relatively short period of time. It’s not that I sit down to do research; it’s that I have been been doing the research for awhile.

Simon Says: Embrace The Sponge Theory of Writing

Different writers follow different processes, and one way is not fundamentally better than any other. Steven Johnson writes 500 words per day, every day. It works for him and I enjoy his books.

For me, though, the sponge method feels right. It’s natural and intuitive and I can’t see setting arbitrary floors and ceilings on how much I write per day.


What’s your writing process?

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