Accidental Genius Summary

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1. 1-Sentence-Summary:

1.1. Accidental Genius introduces you to the concept of freewriting, which you can use to solve complex problems, exercise your creativity, flesh out your ideas and even build a catalog of publishable work.

2. Favorite quote from the author:

2.1. "The act of writing stimulates thought, so when you cannot think of anything to write, start writing anyway." - Mark Levy

3. 3 lessons:

3.1. Your first freewriting session should follow three rules.

3.1.1. Lower your expectations.

3.1.1.1. The whole point of the exercise is to get ideas flowing, so perfectionism would only get in the way.

3.1.1.2. Relax, remember it’s no pressure and put yourself in a 90% mindset, rather than 110%.

3.1.2. Write quickly and coherently.

3.1.2.1. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. Never question your statements.

3.1.2.2. Repeat lines if it helps you keep moving. Focus on quantity over quality.

3.1.3. Set a time limit – 5 to 20 minutes will do just fine.

3.1.3.1. A fixed start and end point will help you focus and move fast.

3.2. Lie all you want in your freewriting. It’s an exercise in creativity.

3.2.1. Since it’s an idea practice, abandoning reality for fantasy adds to your creative process.

3.2.2. There are two ways you can do this:

3.2.2.1. Exaggerate.

3.2.2.1.1. Turn slouching into running, houses into skyscrapers and mediocre into exhilarating.

3.2.2.2. Flip.

3.2.2.2.1. If it rains it may now be sunny. Slow becomes fast. What was quiet now is loud.

3.2.3. You can also try imagining a conversation with a fictitious character or person you know, writing a letter dedicated to a group of people or to your past self.

3.2.3.1. You can even imagine what questions these characters would ask you and then try to answer them.

3.2.4. The whole point of lying in your freewriting is to question the assumptions you hold and see if there are new paths your neurons haven’t explored yet.

3.2.4.1. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

3.3. A freewriting habit might just be what you need to finally start your book.

3.3.1. Writing a book seems – and is – one of the most daunting challenges we can think of.

3.3.1.1. The financial reward potential is terribly low. The work is hard. It takes forever.

3.3.2. How about writing for five minutes a day about your favorite topic?

3.3.2.1. It's doable and could be fun too.

3.3.2.2. If you do that for a year you’ll easily produce 60-150 pages of material!

3.3.3. A regular freewriting practice might be the easiest and fastest way to write a book.

3.3.4. Or write every time you do laundry. Three one-hour sessions each week.

3.3.4.1. You’ll easily write 500 pages in a year.

3.3.4.2. If you file and archive those, it’ll be very easy to pick these tidbits back up, edit them, revise them, link various ideas together, your first book is ready for a professional’s scrutiny before it goes live!

3.3.5. Even if you don’t intend to publish a book, keeping an archive of your freewriting sessions with a good tagging system will quickly add up to an invaluable idea stash.

3.3.6. If you write by hand, you can scan your documents into Evernote and it’ll make the text searchable.

4. What else can you learn from the blinks?

4.1. What usually keeps us from articulating our best ideas

4.2. Three more rules for successful freewriting sessions

4.3. Why writing is better than thinking

4.4. A few writing prompts to get you started

4.5. How freewriting forces you to assess ideas more realistically

4.6. Why you should share your freewriting outputs with others

5. Who would I recommend the Accidental Genius summary to?

5.1. The 27 year old Physics PhD candidate, who’s gotten weary from writing over her academic career, the 49 year old logistics manager, who’s used to a strict system of rules at work, and anyone who wants to one day write a book.