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Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations and Books (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. März 1999

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planning--'methodicalness and routinisation'--result in manuscripts written well and on time.

Zerubavel understands that the writing mind is inherently perfectionist and that writing is a strangely and dangerously self-engrossing process. His advice ranges from simple time-management schemes--so simple yet so hard to observe--to important tips about how to exploit the computer. The computer, however comfy for those wild writings beloved by the Camerons among us, is essentially an editing tool: a tool of self-criticism. Zerubavel emphasizes that the writing life is actually a life of self-editing, of revision. That is why it is hard; that is why it is exciting. Not just for academics, "The Clockwork Muse" belongs on every real writer's desk.--Tom D'Evelyn "Providence Sunday Journal "

Eviatar Zerubavel takes issue with books on research and writing that imply that checklists and synopses of resources and literary texts are all the equipment a writer requires to start a research project. In "The Clockwork Muse," he assumes that writer's block is natural, pervasive, and tends to prevail regardless of an individual's ability, ideas, and resources. He argues, therefore, that any writer's first task is to insure himself against this paralyzing condition by commanding the 'procedural', not the 'material', aspects of producing a manuscript. The basis of his philosophy is 'temporal organization': self-disciplined planning--'methodicalness and routinisation'--result in manuscripts written well and on time.--Gregory LeStage "Times Higher Education Supplement "

Synopsis

This text offers a plan to help those who have blanched at the prospect of finishing a long piece of writing. Eviatar Zerubavel describes how to set up a writing schedule and regular work habits that should take most of the anxiety and procrastination out of long-term writing, and even make it enjoyable. Zerubavel argues that the dreaded "writer's block" often terms out to be simply a need for a better grasp of the temporaral organization of work. This book rethinks the writing process in terms of time and organization. It offers writers a simple yet comprehensive framework that considers such cariables as when to write, for how long, and how often, while keeping a sense of momentum throughout the entire project. It shows how to set priorities, balance ideals against constraints, and find the ideal time to write.

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Format: Taschenbuch
Okay, I'll admit it--it's only a slight exaggeration to say that this book enabled me to finish my doctoral dissertation, or at least sped up the process by several months. How? By laying out with great clarity, detail, and an almost irritating degree of assurance exactly how to write a thesis, dissertation, or book. There it all is, in black and white--and all of a sudden it seems doable. You may not like Zerubavel's strategies; you may grumble and fuss and argue with them. But at least they give you a framework to adopt, or adapt, or dismantle. And in my case, at least, that was just what I needed--in fact, I wish to goodness I'd picked this book up six months earlier.
Criticisms? Sure. Humility is not the author's long suit--most of his examples come from his own work, his own life, and you keep wishing he'd incorporated more examples and strategies from other people's experiences (one assumes the guy must have colleagues, but you'd scarcely know it from this work). More of that would have broadened and strengthened his book greatly. There isn't just one right way, and not everything Zerubavel suggests will work for everyone, but that's easy to forget in the face of the magisterial self-assurance his words convey. Never mind; the stuff works, and you can work with it, or against it, so that something from it will work for you. I read the paperback, but I'm buying the hardcover for my permanent library, and I'm recommending it strongly to every daunted graduate student I know. Zerubavel's ego clearly doesn't need boosting, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to give The Clockwork Muse my highest recommendation anyway.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d105438) von 5 Sternen 25 Rezensionen
112 von 114 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9ccacc54) von 5 Sternen It got me through my dissertation 10. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Okay, I'll admit it--it's only a slight exaggeration to say that this book enabled me to finish my doctoral dissertation, or at least sped up the process by several months. How? By laying out with great clarity, detail, and an almost irritating degree of assurance exactly how to write a thesis, dissertation, or book. There it all is, in black and white--and all of a sudden it seems doable. You may not like Zerubavel's strategies; you may grumble and fuss and argue with them. But at least they give you a framework to adopt, or adapt, or dismantle. And in my case, at least, that was just what I needed--in fact, I wish to goodness I'd picked this book up six months earlier.
Criticisms? Sure. Humility is not the author's long suit--most of his examples come from his own work, his own life, and you keep wishing he'd incorporated more examples and strategies from other people's experiences (one assumes the guy must have colleagues, but you'd scarcely know it from this work). More of that would have broadened and strengthened his book greatly. There isn't just one right way, and not everything Zerubavel suggests will work for everyone, but that's easy to forget in the face of the magisterial self-assurance his words convey. Never mind; the stuff works, and you can work with it, or against it, so that something from it will work for you. I read the paperback, but I'm buying the hardcover for my permanent library, and I'm recommending it strongly to every daunted graduate student I know. Zerubavel's ego clearly doesn't need boosting, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to give The Clockwork Muse my highest recommendation anyway.
26 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9d25c120) von 5 Sternen Inspiring and pragmatic, just like the title 10. Juni 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
When I was writing my dissertation, a hard-working and prolific colleague recommended this book to me. I borrowed it from my university library. It had an almost instant effect on my work, and I finished my opus quickly and relatively painlessly. Recently, I found myself procrastinating and meandering again, so I decided to buy the book!
Things I like about the Clockwork Muse: it's very short. It gives very specific, pragmatic advice. It is light on molly-coddling psychobabble, unlike Joan Bolker's "Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day." The latter is useful in its own way, but it didn't do anything for my work habits.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9d25c060) von 5 Sternen The write stuff (especially for first-timers) 27. Februar 2007
Von Steve R - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
When you are faced with the daunting task of a major writing project (a book, a thesis) it can be nice to know how others have done it--especially your first time around. 'The Clockwork Muse' offers two things for those in that situation: structure, and examples. The first of these (structure) helps with the practical necessity of breaking the project down into its executable elements: a writing schedule, outlines and drafts, timetables, and monitoring and ensuring progress. The second of these (the examples) are helpful to those of us who, in our own fits of self-doubt, need to know that another human has met similar obstacles and has overcome them.

'Clockwork Muse' manages to do both of these pretty well. It is stronger on the first, the structure. It reminds us that the overall job of a major writing project is taken one sentence, one page, one chapter at a time. In just about 100 pages, this book provides a basic, workable structure that can be modified by most writers to suit their individual needs. As far as examples and anecdotes go--how actual writers fare under the proposed structure, the author mostly offers examples from his own experience. While this is certainly interesting, it is one-dimensional; it would have been nice to have a wide variety of examples of how different authors, grad students, or journalists cope with the day-to-day prospect of writing a book or dissertation or long article. (And really, how helpful--or bizarre--is it to know that the author of `Clockwork Muse,' Evitar Zerubavel, sits in different chairs to write different drafts of a paragraph? To each his own....)

Not all of the suggestions offered here will work for all authors. For examples, some of us do write multiple drafts of a book straight through from start to finish. Others of us write more haphazardly, bouncing around from section to section and chapter to chapter, but still producing a solid, finished product. Zerubavel himself prefers one method over another, but in the end, his practical advice on structuring a writing project is this book's real strength. It offers sound practical help, regardless of one's writing style, and makes a good quick reference to lean upon for some comfort during those late-night moments of doubt when chapter four just isn't coming together.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Socio-physicist - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Key points of the book
1] Temporal organization of the work such as manuscript, book or thesis is important and it needs to be LINEAR. Use a time-table for the work. This is called time-table like in a school.
2] Your time "schedule" is different from time "table". This is when you sit down to write. This needs to be CIRCULAR i.e. repeats itself at high frequency. Block all necessary event and what remains is your writing time.
3] Start with an outline and estimate the length of each section in terms of pages. At this stage, be crude but realistic.
4] Next estimate the pace. Overestimate the number of pages (column 2) and underestimate your pace (column 3). Remember the pace and length of each section differs a lot depending on the many factor such as: previous preparation, comfort and confidence, complexity of the section.
5] Convert it into days again rounding off to the bigger number.
6] Then fix a date by which that should be done.
7] An important point I learned in this book is the following: Write multiple drafts. i.e. quick finish the "dirty" first draft of the whole project before launching a second outline, time-table and then go for second draft revision. This is like spreading evenly the butter over the bread rather than polishing only a small region. The author actually says that once you finish the first draft you are guaranteed to finish the book/dissertation. Good point. Also, every time we write/revise the draft the creative "ups/downs" also spread evenly. Even when writing the conclusion you can think about modifying the introduction on the next round by inserting flags rather than being constrained because you have "fixed" the introduction. Also, it a significant boost to confidence. I have to agree to this.
4] Think about the project as climbing a mountain with stairs - height of each stair and pace at which your plan to clear the stairs is the crux of this book. Learn to think in terms of chapters and sections.
5] Write introduction in draft two.
6] A time (quality/quiet time) for writing B time (next best time) for revising and preparing for A time. Computer is not a writing tool but an editing tool...writing is nothing but revision.
7] Mange writing. Conclusion: Very good book. Last chapter was not great.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9cc764a4) von 5 Sternen Regiment Your Writing 5. April 2011
Von R. F. Williamson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I attended a lecture on a university campus on "Finishing Your Dissertation on Time," and this book was mentioned over and over again. It's a small volume, but it packs a big punch. The sections are really well-organized, and the prose is concise and clear. My colleagues all swear by this little book; it provides practical and logistical advice for making writing a habit so that you can tackle large/long projects efficiently.
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