Weinberg on Writing


Several years ago, I picked up my first Gerald Weinberg book — The Secrets of Consulting.

He is a computer programmer who, in that book, stunned me with the unique insights he had about the consulting profession. It was one of the seminal consulting books I read at the time when I was learning that there was more to the craft than just knowing a bunch of good stuff and being really smart.

When I read that he had a new book called Weinberg on Writing, I jumped at the chance to read the book, thinking that it would once again marry some lines of thinking that normally do not go together.

I was right on this one. His book is like nothing I have ever read, and now that I am thinking of myself as a writer (of more than lots of emails) his advice on how to organize ideas and writing energy explained a lot to me about my own writing behaviour, why I like to blog and how to organize ideas by following ones own level of inner energy.

The Fieldstone Method is one that he has invented and named. It has to do with gathering ideas and points of inspiration for writing, in the same way that someone who builds fences from stones found in a field (i.e. fieldstones) must find just the right stones to build the structures they want. Here in Jamaica, we have them all over the country, and we like to build retaining walls and gully walls from football size limestones (and the aid of a lot of cement.)

The book, which is all about building bits and pieces of ideas into a coherent whole gives me some comfort. Even though I am not using Mrs. Richardson’s format from my days at St. Andrew Prep School, I have still been following a relatively coherent method that I am going to improve and enhance using the ideas from this book.

In short — I recommend it!