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:

  1. When one wrote to the other, it was completely indifferent whether what he wrote was right or wrong.
  2. When one received a letter from the other, he was under no obligation to read it, let alone answer it.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - 2004-06-14

(correlates: RipTide, DetectiveWork, IncessantBarking, ...)