The Abraham Lincoln Method

At Beaumont Hardy, I meet many writers struggling with writer’s block. Although no amount of editorial coaching can pull a writer through a “dry spell,” I argue that any writing is better than no writing. Even a terrible rough draft can yield positive writing results. The point is just to write. I now propose the Abraham Lincoln Method for putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and writing that rough draft.

Our 16th President famously studied by candlelight, refusing to allow less-than-ideal conditions to deter him from his reading and writing. We all know how far Abraham Lincoln’s candlelit writing sessions took him. I advocate writing under the same conditions Abraham Lincoln once did, as a stimulant for creativity

On a night when you can guarantee an hour or two of solitude, I recommend clearing a table of everything but a note pad or computer; turning off every light, radio, television or electronic gadget in the room; lighting several candles; and settling in to write a rough draft. This is the Abraham Lincoln Method.

Not only is this method energy-efficient, it can also be highly productive. Writing in a new environment–even just a new lighting environment–can stimulate creativity in surprising ways. Many writers work with constant noise distractions, and the silence of an electronics-free room can be mentally freeing. The flickering of the candlelight is also oddly conducive to reflection and introspection, gently stimulating the imagination. And turning off all the lights and every electronic gadget makes for absolutely no visual distractions–no sudden impulses to dust or to rearrange tchotchkes before writing the next sentence. Staring off into a room’s darkness is simultaneously frightening and thrilling, and I argue that this combination of emotions, tinged as it is with the primeval elements of darkness and fire, can inspire even the most uninspired of writers.

The Abraham Lincoln Method honors one of our most diligent and scholarly of Presidents, and it carries with it the flickering light of hope that we might achieve some of his greatness.

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3 Responses to “The Abraham Lincoln Method”

  1. mike says:

    wow. this is a great idea, I am going to try this. thank you so much.

  2. admin says:

    I’m so glad this idea is helpful to you. Keep us posted on how the Abraham Lincoln Method works for you.

  3. elda says:

    I will try it tonight! šŸ˜‰

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