April 6, 2020•267 words
Why writing helps
- Clarity. One of my favorite quotes by Bertrand Russell says: "Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise." Writing helps me realize that my thoughts are often vague and inconsistent and it encourages me to make some order.
- Generate new ideas. Writing often feels like I'm having a conversation with myself. This process leads me to new ideas and perspectives, similar to what happens when talking with others. Even though I won't learn new facts from myself, I can help myself explore new patterns of thought and even change my mind on things.
- Scripta manent. Writing like is taking a photographic snapshot of my brain: it is a static picture of my intellectual and emotional state at a given moment. The resolution of the picture typically very low, but it's still one of the best ways of recording this type of information (and the resolution increases as writing skills improve!).
Why writing in public helps:
- Raise the standard. Preparing something that might be read by others encourages me to pay more attention to the quality of the writing, both in its content and form. I can of course try to force myself to write well on my own, but the idea of being judged (even by a very small number of people who are my friends) is a powerful motivator.
- Share with others to get feedback. I'm obviously happy to have the chance to share my thoughts with others. Hopefully they can be a starting point for interesting discussions.