Joyce sends us this great nugget today from Joshua-Michéle Ross on the painstaking up-front work of achieving a CLEAR PURPOSE before he begins his work as an author.
I just read read a fantastic Esquire article about Robert Caro, author of the magisterial, multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson. Caro, despite being a self-admitted “fast writer” doesn’t begin his writing until he is perfectly clear on his purpose:
“Caro knits together his fingers until he knows what his book is about. Once he is certain, he will write one or two paragraphs — he aims for one, but he usually writes two, a consistent Caro math — that capture his ambitions. Those two paragraphs will be his guide for as long as he’s working on the book. Whenever he feels lost, whenever he finds himself buried in his research or dropping the thread — over the course of ten years, a man can become a different man entirely — he can read those two paragraphs back to himself and find anchor again.”