What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What is your writing process?

 

Augusten Burroughs: My writing process isn’t really organized. I’ve written every day for a long time and sometimes I’ll write just e-mail to my friends or I’ll write about something that happened to me that day but when I’m actively working on a book I work on it around the clock. I work on it and then I just sleep a little bit to get it out of the way.

I pretty much don’t leave the house. I work in bed actually on my laptop so the first thing I do when I wake up is take a shower, walk the dogs, get dressed and make the bed and get back in to bed and prop myself up with my laptop. So when I’m working on a book and I’ve got to get it finished it’s my world and that book--wherever I am in that book, whether I am 8 years old or 12 or wherever, that’s who and where I am and the details of those days are the details of my life and the year that I live in and the town that I live in just ceases to exist.

Writer’s block I don’t get. I don’t believe in writer’s block. It’s just not real. If anybody out there suffers from writer’s block, it’s easy to get over. Write about the writer’s block. Just sit down and write about the writer’s block.

I’m working on my novel and I can’t figure out the last scene. I seem to be blocked so why am I blocked? And the more you write about it, the more you’ll dissolve it, like dropping a couple of Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water. It’ll fizz and it’ll go away.

Whatever you are blocked on, write about it. That’s essentially whenever you have a problem. Writer’s block is a problem. It’s like anything in life. When you have a problem don’t skirt around it; dive in to it. If you want to find out how powerful the storm is, fly the plane into the eye of the storm, and it’s the same thing with writer’s block.

 

Question: What is your advice to young writers?

 

Augusten Burroughs: My advice for young writers would be not to worry about things like voice or style. My advice would be to read good books and a lot of them and to write every day.

You don’t have to read what you write and in fact I wouldn’t read what I’ve written in the beginning. I would just generate the material. Just read. Don’t hang around with people who are negative and who are not supportive of your writing.

Make friends with writers so that you have a community. Hopefully, your community of writer friends will be good and they’ll give you good feedback and good criticism on your writing but really the best way to be a writer is to be a writer. You write. The way to do it is to write and to read. That is the best training is reading excellent books and writing.

 

Recorded on: April 30, 2008.

 

 

 

Advice to Writers

Newsletter: Share: