Cover: The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books, from Harvard University PressCover: The Clockwork Muse in PAPERBACK

The Clockwork Muse

A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books

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Product Details


$20.50 • £16.95 • €18.50

ISBN 9780674135864

Publication: March 1999

Academic Trade

128 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

2 tables


For anyone who has blanched at the uphill prospect of finishing a long piece of writing, this book holds out something more practical than hope: it offers a plan. The Clockwork Muse is designed to help prospective authors develop a workable timetable for completing long and often formidable projects.

The idea of dashing off a manuscript in a fit of manic inspiration may be romantic, but it is not particularly practical. Instead, Eviatar Zerubavel, a prolific and successful author, describes how to set up a writing schedule and regular work habits that will take most of the anxiety and procrastination out of long-term writing, and even make it enjoyable. The dreaded ‘writer’s block’ often turns out to be simply a need for a better grasp of the temporal organization of work.

The Clockwork Muse rethinks the writing process in terms of time and organization. It offers writers a simple yet comprehensive framework that considers such variables 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. For all those whose writing has languished, waiting for the “right moment,” The Clockwork Muse announces that the moment has arrived.