Easier writing: start small, expand.
an offline save.
To write easily & coherently, start with a micro-version, and progressively expand it. Easier to add detail to a sketch, than to draw it top to bottom.
Painters do studies and sketches. Other artists and creators do the same. Digital tools make this easier. But writers seldom do this, and there are no tools for it. Gingko can be that tool.
To write easily & coherently, take total/2, then that/3, then that/4, etc, down to ~5 words. Write the smallest version. Make sure it feels right & complete. Then write the next version, till you reach your target.
This seems like more work, but even if it were slower, you’re more likely to finish because you’ve already finished multiple times.
This is not unique to art, and is tied to a beautiful theory.
When I visited the Louvre, I saw that master painters would spend time with sketches and studies before sketching on canvas, and then eventually painting.
With digital tools for painting and sculpture, the principles are the same, and the process is even smoother.
We would never expect a painter to just start without a plan, raster left to right, top to bottom, and create a masterpiece.
Yet we expect that of ourselves all the time, when we write. Outlines can help a little, but often the difference in scale is too great. And they can feel limiting.
With Gingko, we have a better option.
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Gingko can have different “resolutions” of a text, side by side. We can use this to write more easily and coherently, by sketching with words.
“It’s more writing.”
You are only writing 71% more words. Since first drafts run long, you’d write as much anyway. More importantly, you won’t get lost and are more likely to finish.
“There are too many constraints.”
True. Describing your story in 5 words is difficult. This forces you to find the core, which means you’ll have a better story. Also, constraints lead to creativity.
“It’ll take much longer.”
The later passes flow by, because you already know what to say. More importantly, once you know what to say, choosing how to say it is fun.
“It’ll be hard to organize.”
With Gingko, it’s simple, and versatile. You’ll be able to go from idea to draft faster than anyone you know.
This seems esoteric, but we’re just describing “sketching with words”.
This principle appears in many places, such as holography & compression algorithms, related through the Fourier transform.
[The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle, for text?]
When I visited the Louvre, the thing I remember the most (besides the Mona Lisa mosh pit), was the secluded and dimly-lit room where renaissance sketches were kept.
Master painters would prepare to paint by drawing dozens of sketches. The sketches were rough, and contained only the essential element being studied. The composition. A facial expression. An eye. Only when the painter was satisfied, would he sketch directly on the canvas.
How else could they have produced their masterpieces?
We would never expect a painter to just start without a plan, and proceed like an inkjet printer: use a tiny brush, start at the top, and scan left-to-right until reaching the bottom. They would very quickly run into problems. Perspective would be off, composition cliched, and postures awkward. Unless the painter were extremely experienced, the piece would fall apart and be impossible to finish.
This is obviously a terrible way to paint.
But we do this all the time, when writing.
We start at the beginning, and hope to get all the way to the end, having at best only a vague outline of what it will all look like.
Worst of all, when we try to write like this, we blame ourselves for not being able to finish.
With painting, it’s easy to scale up a small sketch and add more detail. Gingko allows you to do that with words, by having different “resolutions” of a text, side by side. By sketching with words, you’ll be able to write more easily and create a more coherent final piece.
Divide your target word count by 2, then that by 3, etc. Stop when you hit a number less than 1. For 2000 words, you’d have: 2000, 1000, 333, 83, 17, 3.
You’ve now built your staircase.
To write, start at the bottom of the staircase, and describe your story with only that many words. When satisfied, proceed to the next step. Continue up the word count staircase, pausing to evaluate at each step.
Skeptical? Read on…
Objection: “It’s more writing.”
Actually, you are only writing 71.8% more words. This is not much, considering that first drafts are usually too long anyway.
However, the key is that, at each step, you know your whole story, at some level of detail. You simply can’t get lost. And that means you’re more likely to actually finish.
Objection: “There are too many constraints.”
True. But describing your entire novel in ~5 words forces you to dig deep and find the core. Instead of a disconnected rambling narrative, you’ll have a strong steady current throughout the whole.
Also constraints force you to be creative. Your best work will come from trying to say what you need to, in fewer words.
Objection: “It’ll take much longer.”
If you believe you write at 42 wpm, why can’t you submit a 60000 word manuscript after 24 hours?
You can’t, because you have to constantly pause to think of what to say next. With this method, you always know what to say at each step. Choosing how to say it is then faster and more enjoyable.
Objection: “It’ll be hard to organize.”
This method requires writing several versions of different lengths, and being able to refer to them easily.
Gingko is the only tool designed to do this.
First create a card for your shortest version. Then create a child card with your next version. When your cards get long, you branch into sections.
For an example, you can see the Gingko tree I used to write this page.
This method might still seem esoteric, but we’re just describing how to “sketch with words”. If it seems strange, it’s because there’s never been a tool that let you do this.
We’ve only used painting as an analogy, but this same process appears in sculpture and other arts. It is actually a universal property, and tied to a beautiful mathematical theory called Fourier transforms (which also explain how we hear, see, smell, is found in quantum mechanics, in holography, in compression algorithms). But that is the subject of another post.
[Teaser of Fourier]