Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Tweakers: Steve Jobs and Writers

I read a very, very excellent article by Malcolm Gladwell last night on the train home. It was about our recently departed Einstein of Design (he would have hated that), Steve Jobs. 

Gladwell points out that there are two types (well, for our purposes) of genius: the Creators and the Tweakers.

The creators make huge innovations. Come up with things that have never been done before. The Tweakers, well, "tweak." Tweakers make the "micro inventions necessary to make macro inventions highly productive and remunerative." In other words, tweakers take the big bangs and, with a series of small, well-placed sparks, make a bigger one.

I think this is relevant to writing, in the sense that writers live in fear of not being original. Fearful of that old adage: "There are no new stories."

Gladwell points out, and I agree, that small innovations are as important as the earthshaking ones--can, in fact, be the earthshaking ones. 

So write what you're writing, and don't worry that J.R.R Tolkein did it first. You're doing it different. Shoot, you might do it better. (Just don't tell me that in your query)

1 comment:

  1. Maybe I'm just thinking this way because I'm neck deep in revision right now, but writers are creators AND tweakers. We take that big thing we created and work on placing those sparks. And hopefully don't inadvertently blow anything up.