What I meant in the last video by, "don't accept the default" is probably more accurately stated as, "don't thoughtlessly accept the default." Some defaults are good, as Cass Sunstein of the Harvard Law School points out in "Deciding By Default," an article he published in the Penn Law Review in 2013. People familiar with Sunstein's work especially in "Nudge," the hit book he wrote with Nobel Prize winner, Richard Thaler, won't be surprised to hear the advantages he says default rules can bring. When designed well, default rules can save time. They can save money. And they can relieve us of the burden of constantly having to think through an overwhelming set of decisions. Yet there are drawbacks as well. Defaults take away a certain amount of autonomy. They don't account for heterogeneity. They treat people as if one size fits all. Sunstein's solution is a kind of hybrid approach. He wants to keep the efficiency of defaults but also add in the freedom of individual choice. He calls this approach "personalized defaults." "A personalized default rule attempts to distinguish among members of the relevant population, ensuring (in the extreme case) that each individual receives a default rule that fits his or her particular situation." Those of you who took the first course in this specialization, the one on word choice, may see a connection between Sunstein's point and the main lesson we took from The End Of Average by Todd Rose. Customize your education. You'll get a chance to learn more about Rose's ideas and examples in this week's reading. But first, I want to highlight how Sunstein's suggestion of personalized default might be applied to writing, particularly when it comes to how you write, where you write, when you write, and for how long you write. When people are in school, the default place to write is often the library. But maybe that's not the ideal spot for you. Maybe you like a little more noise, maybe you like a little less noise. It seems like every university has at least one library that is more social than scholarly. Coffee shops can be a popular alternative. The Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland is now famous for being one of the places J. K. Rowling began the Harry Potter series, and writers as different as Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir and Malcolm Gladwell have all used a wide range of cafés to create their own work. There's a line in A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's book about Paris, that celebrates "the marble-topped tables, the smell of café cremes, the smell of early morning sweeping out and mopping" as pretty much all you need to write. Rowling is similarly effusive. "It's no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don't have to make your own coffee, you don't have to feel like you're in solitary confinement, and if you have writer's block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think." Other people, of course, are more idiosyncratic. Maya Angelou used to rent out hotel rooms and take with her a dictionary, a thesaurus, an ashtray, a Bible, and a bottle of sherry. Agatha Christie often wrote in a bathtub eating apples. And Charles Dickens was so attached to a particular chair and desk that he would sometimes have it shipped to him when he was traveling. These are personalized defaults. What makes them personalized is that they were specific to and chosen by each person. Angelou picked her hotel. Christie picked her tub. Dickens picked his desk. What makes them default is that once the decision was made, no additional time or mental energy was needed to weigh competing options. Angelou didn't have to figure out every time she wanted to write, "Okay, where am I going to go today?" She found something that made her feel comfortable and creative and she stuck to it. "Routine in an intelligent man," the British poet, W. H. Auden once wrote, "is a sign of ambition." And as Mason Currey points out in Daily Rituals, his book about the work habits of a wide range of artists, Auden believed that a life of such military precision was essential to his creativity, a way of taming the muse to his own schedule. "A modern stoic," he observed, "knows that the surest way to discipline passion is to discipline time; Decide what you want or ought to do during the day, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble." Auden seems to be a pretty extreme case, and if you ever find yourself overly obsessing about how to create the perfect schedule and writing environment, remind yourself of the tempering opinion of E. B. White, the American journalist and children's author who produced such classics as Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little while also working full time for The New Yorker. "A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper." Yet it may nevertheless be helpful to think of some personalized defaults that might make your own writing process a bit more streamlined and enjoyable or at least a little less agonizing. This is especially true when it comes to getting started on a draft, which we sometimes put off and put off and put off in ways that ultimately jeopardize the quality of our final product. So the next video will introduce a concept that can make it easier to fight back tendency: Temptation Bundling.