22 June 2011

Writing again

I have shamelessly neglected "Writing & Design" of late, but I am resolved to pick up the thread again. Something which interests me now is "writer process." I attended a panel on "design thinking" sponsored by Toronto's Rotman School of Business. I'm wary of design thinking, because it seems to fall into the traps that Horst Rittel pointed out about design methods in the 1970s, taking a naive view of problems and engaging in "magical thinking." (Rittel used to refer to that step as "the creative leap.") What interests me is the leitmotif of failure that runs through the design thinking discourse as the shadow side of the creative process. (Several on the panel noted that it's problematic to reward failure and that it can end in tears for the people involved.) Writers, especially novelists, deal constantly with failure. A novel is a real undertaking, so of course novelists are often quite invested in what they're writing. Yet every writer, to be any good, has to be prepared to start again (while, if they're smart, saving every scrap). I want to explore this, and I'll do so here (among other places, probably).