>"Writing novels is hard, and requires vast, unbroken slabs of time. Four
>quiet hours is a resource that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time,
>each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not
>nearly as productive as an unbroken four. ...
>The productivity equation is a non-linear one, in other words.
That's part of the answer. But partly the answer is that "a four-hour slab"
is the right answer to one question, whereas "a quick sound-bite of insight"
is the right anwer to another question. There's a kind of quick-twitc,
reactive thinking--stock traders have it, stand-up comedians do, too--that's
fundementally different from running mental miles or marathons. When I wrote
my book I found that the physical experience of writing 5 days a week for 12
unbroken weeks was very different from that of writiging 5 days every 6
weeks--it taxed different muscles, both physical and mental ones.
The question: are there sprinters who are also marathoners? Does age
influence it? I see my daughter multitasking--on the phone, on the web,
answering IMs, and doing calculus--and I wonder: Is she learning? Can she do
that AND write a thoughtful 15-page paper?