Incremental writing: Good sleep, good learning, good life

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This text is part of: "Science of sleep" by Piotr Wozniak (2017)

Science of sleep was written using a technique called incremental writing.

SuperMemo can be used in the process of creative writing, which combines writing texts with the learning and review of the incremental reading. By analogy to incremental reading, this process is called incremental writing. The main difference between incremental reading and incremental writing is that the "big picture" of the article is built within the collection, not in the writer's mind. This is suitable for large fact-packed material that is difficult to organize sequentially. In addition, one's own writing may be the source of most input, as opposed to external electronic sources. Incremental writing is also suitable for a compilation of a large body of prior writing, esp. of materials that are repetitive, fact-rich, and often loosely connected. Incremental writing is less useful for texts with a linear line of thought. Science of sleep is a compilation of multiple texts related to sleep and learning published at All the relevant materials have been imported to SuperMemo 15 for Windows and processed incrementally. The structure of the article was determined with the help of the contents tree. The explanatory notes where processed incrementally. Figures, annotations, links, and literature citations were also processed incrementally in order of priority. Incremental article writing is an open-ended process that can be interrupted at any stage for the article to be exported to as a single document for text-flow rewrites. Articles written using incremental writing may be particularly suitable for incremental reading. They can be compared to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an excellent source for incremental reading due to its incremental growth and solid local context. For the exactly same reasons, materials compiled with incremental writing are highly suitable for incremental reading. They may be bloated and repetitive, however, with incremental reading, they can be prioritized in a rational way. Incremental writing leaves the texts highly granual and the flow of thought is jagged, however, in incremental reading, this is an advantage as all individual articles and subarticles carry sufficient local context to be read independently.

Knowledge tree in incremental writing
Figure: Science of sleep was written using incremental writing. Individual chapters have been compiled into a knowledge tree displayed here in Contents in SuperMemo. The main table of contents is separate from the TO DO branch (bottom) that keeps the material that is still to be processed (written, elaborated, or polished)