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20200607_1210 - Writing is not hard. Communicating is. == * Note created: [time=Sunday, 07 June 2020 12:10:17 +0700] * ###### tags sTREaming [TOC] ---- I realised something this morning. // well it's more like: I discovered a frame, an angle, an entrypoint to this web of thought around thinking and writing Writing is not hard. Communicating is. Writing is the act of generating words. We do this all the time. Either in the form of typing, speaking, writing on paper, and basically... thinking. Or perhaps better to call it "chattering" (// cue: I have no internal monologue so it's arguable whether or not I "generate words" when I'm not externalising any of the thoughts). Wanted to finish [this video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJLxexapps0) later) What we often struggle with is 1) to make our words come out coherently in a way that makes sense to the recipient and 2) to make sure the point / message / idea / argument is received the way we intend it to be. To make our words to land effectively., we need to know what effective means. What Perhaps now you're thinking: come on, we all know what we mean by the time we say "writing is hard". Isn't this just semantics? Exactly. First step to solving a problem is having a good definition of the problem. And better definitions come from using the right words. And here lies the key to one solution to "writer's block": ==Be aware (and accept!) that there are two functions of writing== and act accordingly: 1. To think 2. To communicate ### On speaking For argument's sake let's agree that from this point on, by the time I say "writing (to communicate)", I mean getting things out of your head. Linearising thoughts. Which means it applies to speaking to some degree. Speaking is very forgiving. You realise this when read transcripts of conversations and dialogues. On verbatim, they are barely easily digestible. The words flow differently. It takes extra effort to massage a transcript into something that is comfortably readable. But still, we are able to "get" it by the time we hear the exact words, better than when we read them. I have some theories on why this is, but I'll need do actual research on it before rambling about it. So let's keep it at this for now: There are more dimensions to spoken words. Intonation, pauses, words. You have more to work with. A good example of this is when you're listening to someone, you can still give the "right" responses even though you're not fully paying attention to them, just by their tone. There are articulate writing and speaking and there are rambling writing and speaking. It's easier to ramble when we speak compared to when we write. Because we're thinking and absorbing in real time. Our brains navigate back and forth, spew out and patch the details. But it is generally more permissible to be a sloppy speaker compared to a sloppy writer. The bar of aspiration is definitely set on different heights here. ### What are you trying to communicate? Why is writing hard? - unclear intention - not sure what you want to say - not sure where to start - difficulty in coming up with words - reluctance to get it out there Only one small attack point here So going back. Here's a starting point: What are you trying to say? What is your intention in writing this? Let's work backwards from here I find that being aware and clear of the intention of why you write in the first place is helpful to set that expectation with yourself. // rewrite this, too jumbled. Often we're frustrated when we are stuck, blocked. You are having issues with thinking. And the solution to unblocking thinking (cue: focused, diffused // cue: the parallel to learning) is very different than solution to a blocked communication (// and what are some of these?). ### Writing to think permission to seek, without expecting to find The second point is: writing is often hard because we don't know what we're trying to say. This can mean having too many things to say and don't know where to start and where to end. It can mean branching off and having to draw the line and guide your train of thought back from derailing. We might find that what we think we want to say is This can mean we haven't actually figured out our intention. Is it to vent, to inform, to make people feel something, for change, to tell a story. Essentially I think it all boils down to one verb: to ask. We ask for understanding, we ask for obedience (what's the ask form of "influence"?), for solution to our perceived problems? ### So what? You can think without writing. To think better, write more. To communicate, get things out To think you Writing to think and writing to communicate This seems obvious in hindsight. We all agree and have heard people who write and speak well being described as "a clear thinker". But before I became aware of and spelt these two functions out, it didn't click to me that I need different strategies by the time I'm struggling in any stage in the process of writing or speaking. I would often navigate the maze in a brute force manner. Just trying harder. Applying these lenses has unlocked a bunch of [insert that gif of master key to the door with multi-layered lock] So, yes communicating **is** hard but thinking is even harder. Doh. Good writing to communicate means you need to contextualise it for the reader. Why is this relevant, why should they care, why do they need to know / hear / read this? writing to think is just noisy and (what's a good word to describe going into different direction / having no clear predictable outcome or path?) exploratory? why is it hard? words are linear. thoughts are not Sometimes you just don't understand it just yet. You might think you do but you don't. If you did, words, sequences, and structure come easily. This does not mean you are stupid for not. You must go through this process to . And in the process of linearising, you internalise things deeper problem of entrypoint. start anywhere. thoughts aren't linear, so you can start anywhere, you'll find your way and figure out what you're thinking and trying to say eventually perhaps clear thinking and clear communicating is having things to point at and you get more things by thinking and pointing. ---- Legend: - ==my points== - meta discourse ------ naval's "how to tweet, write an essay, throw the essay away" be precise in your thinking be impeccable with your words only after I've started writing (privately and publicly) -- apparently I have published quite a LOT), I can review and start pull out the recurring themes, repeating, patterns.... and then start putting them into a coherent structure, to start communicating them. bottom up thinking then top down communicating (what am I trying to find out <-> what am I trying to say)