Daniel Pink, the author of four bestsellers, shares trade secrets about how to beat writer’s block. Also, get a glimpse on the New York Times best selling author’s concept of what really motivates us.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Current Residence: Washington, DC, USA
Areas of Focus: Work, business, organizations
As an author of four bestselling books, how do you manage your time each day? Do you have a strict, disciplined schedule as a writer?
When I’m working on a book or a long article, I like to start fairly early in the morning and not work on anything else until I’ve completed a certain number of words. Sometimes that can be painful.
How many words do you write per day? Some writers still use notebooks and pencils, what tools do you use to write your work?
It depends, but I usually aim for at least 500. As for tools, I do the actual writing on an iMac or MacBook. But I actually use lots of paper for notes, diagrams, ideas and so forth.
Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Not everybody agrees with me, but I don’t believe writer’s block is a real condition. I think it’s merely a sign of a writer who doesn’t want to do the work.
What inspired you to write Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us?
After I wrote A WHOLE NEW MIND
Your latest work Drive questions the (long accepted) Theory X / Y, a traditional theory that has been used by business schools and companies to understand workplace motivation. What were some of the reactions from business organizations and schools regarding the “Theory I” that you proposed in Drive? How did you respond to those reactions?
I actually don’t question McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y so much as try to expand on it. What I do question is the belief that the way to get better performance is simply to reward the behavior you want and punish the behavior you don’t want. That’s true for simple, algorithmic tasks. But 50 years of social science says it’s an ineffective approach for more complex, creative ones. As for the reactions from business, they’ve been surprisingly positive. Because I back up the argument with a ton of evidence, and because that evidence confirms what many have suspected – there hasn’t been much resistance. The bigger question has been: What do we do?
Drive is now available in e-book format. Would you mind sharing with us how the process was like getting your work published in a digital format? What was the editorial process like? Did they truncate the original version?
Actually, at this point in the evolution of the e-book , it was pretty easy. The publisher essentially replicated the text digitally. But I think that in the future we’ll do more imaginative things with e-books.
For the writers wanting to get their works published in e-book format, what advice can you give them on how to get started?
Same advice I’d give to anybody writing anything in any format: start writing! Focus less on getting “published” and more on creating something the world can’t live without.
What trends do you see happening in the e-book medium within the next three years?
I’m not sure. My guess is that today’s e-books are like the first motion pictures, back in the early 1900s. They were mostly filmed versions of stage plays. They (e-books) are primitive, because we haven’t figured out the medium. But in the next few years lots of people will begin to invent, develop, and refine the medium – and it will acquire its own grammar and set of conventions.
In your interview with Gretchen Rubin, you mention that running is a simple activity that makes you consistently happier. If you could be running anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Kyoto, Japan. With my wife.