Monday, September 8, 2008

Robert Ellis on Writing

Robert Ellis is the author of Founding Brothers, which has sold over two million copies. In a recent EconTalk podcast (Sept 8), Russell Roberts comments on the renewed interest in America's founding by the general public, attributing part of the reason to Ellis' excellent writing ability. Here was Ellis' response:

If you divide up the time it takes for me to do research and the time it takes for me to write, it takes me twice as long to write than to research, because I labor over it. Sometimes people try to be complimentary and say, "it must be wonderful to sit down and let it all flow out in that lyrical prose that you are sometimes capable of," and I say, "see that paragraph, it took two days!"

Many of our students have the ability to write but not the willingness to put forth the effort it takes. Perhaps they do not understand the fact that good writing demands diligence? Showing them this quote may help communicate this. See a previous post with a similar quote from John Steinbeck.