Note to readers: This is the second in a series of questions and answers with Lawrence Friedman. If you have a question you've wanted to ask him, please post it in a comment, or email me. Question: How on earth do you write so much? Just this year, you published two new scholarly books. Do you write every day? Do you write a certain amount at a time (some people set a goal, like 1000 words per day)? Or do you write for a certain amount of time every day? Please share your secrets. Answer (from Lawrence): How do I write so much? Well, one flippant answer I give to this (frequently asked) question is: I've lived a long time. I'm not retired. I'm still writing. So in a way, that's cheating. I haven't got a non-flippant answer. My only secret is: letting go. I do the best I can, but I'm not the anal-retentive type of legal academic. I like to finish whatever I'm doing and get on to the next thing. I know that the work (whatever it is) isn't perfect, but I'm quick to recognize a point of diminishing returns. Some scholars (particularly in law schools) feel they have to read everything written about the subject, and then some. It doesn't pay. And I get bored very quickly, which leads me to say (about whatever my current project is): OK, enough is enough, let's declare victory and end the struggle with the material. Anyway, I hope there's no trade-off between quantity and quality. I do write a lot. Is that important? Frederick Jackson Turner wrote very little. I seem to remember reading somewhere something to that effect. But the little he wrote was provocative and influential.
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