Monday, May 26, 2008

The value of writing

There are two reasons to write: one is to communicate something you know you are thinking and the other is to discover something that you do not yet realize you are thinking.  When I blog, I do both - sometimes in the same post.

Writing requires effort and results in commitment and stability: once the words are on the screen or the page, they have staying power.  There's no point in writing to procrastinate: unlike listeners, readers are not required to stay with you while you put up road blocks or avoid what you do not like about what you are communicating or thinking.  As you write, the words appear before you and give form to your thoughts.  Procrastination becomes discovery.

When you want to communicate, you have many different options for combining words with structures, plans, props and actions.  When you want to find out what you are thinking, you have fewer options.  Conversations help sometimes; sometimes they encourage you to slip off the path of your own thoughts and onto an easier path already set by someone else.  Actions sometimes reveal thoughts, but they also bury them. It is easier to read results than intent. Writing always gives form to what you are thinking. Writing always draws something into being that previously existed only in the unconscious processes that drive thought.

What is the difference between spilling your thoughts onto the page or screen and allowing readers to share your journey as you explore those thoughts?

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