My correspondence has been suffering lately --- I've become lazy (some might say lazier) about repying to letters, and have sadly lost touch with a number of friends. But recently I felt relieved when I saw the guidelines that mathematicians G. H. Hardy and J. E. Littlewood postulated for their extraordinarily productive collaboration during the first half of the 20th Century:
- When one wrote to the other, it was completely indifferent whether what he wrote was right or wrong.
- When one received a letter from the other, he was under no obligation to read it, let alone answer it.
- Although it did not really matter if they both simultaneously thought about the same detail, still it was preferable that they should not do so.
- It was quite indifferent if one of them had not contributed the least bit to the contents of a paper under their common name.
... good rules, the result of which is less guilt and more communication!
And maybe something similar could work for writing in a journal: don't worry about precision, don't think about readers, don't focus on a single topic, quote shamelessly, ...
(see also WritingRewards (19 Jun 2001), CorrespondencePrinciple (4 Mar 2003), DiaryBenefits (29 Feb 2004), ... )
TopicScience - TopicHumor - TopicJournalizing - TopicWriting - Datetag20040614
(correlates: RipTide, DetectiveWork, IncessantBarking, ...)