How Writing leads to Thinking…

As I read “How Writing Leads to Thinking,” I already notice Hunt’s thoughts playing out before my eyes. In particular, I see a transition in her writing when she moves from the “first rule,” to the “Second rule;” she becomes more comfortable with random thought, and run-on sentences (indicative of more “free” thought.). The topic she’s speaking about is evident in this piece in particular (I wonder if this was intentional.) As she writes the piece, her own thoughts become developed—a certain reverse brainstorming that might be more productive than thinking then writing, respectively.

That’s the way I look at the Writing Minor—an endless re-purposing of a project that seems drawn out and counter-intuitive but adversely, it’s a way to “develop some distance from it,” and a way to develop our own thoughts again, and again. Since writing is so much about this revision process, or as Hunt would say: “the weeding, thinning, mulching, and watering,” it’s important that we can continuously break off our work from ourselves, and douse it with self-criticism, and constructive criticism from others. For example, much of what I write I find to be an extension of my personality, and I often read it over, and over, and over again in the hopes of looking deeper into it. But more often than not, I only re-live the emotions that were available to write it, rather than feel detached, and ready for “good” revision.

This piece inspires me to avoid “the anxiety caused by the unconscious realization that what you write is you and has to be held out for others to see,” throughout this course. It inspires me to take my stream of consciousness, in its most primitive form, and let it run free, and even let it rise to the occasion of scrutiny from myself as well as my revisionary audience. I want to let my writing do the thinking for me, and let my ideas come a millisecond after my words drown the page. After reading this piece, I realized that my immediate thoughts are sometimes shadowed by what I think will make for a good sentence, riddled with backspaces and clever word choice. But, what I should do is abandon the audience for a moment, and write my first draft without uncertainty.

I hope that as I learn to write, not just “polish” my writing, I can write freely with the hope of thinking, and think freely without the fear of revision.

2 thoughts to “How Writing leads to Thinking…”

  1. Hi Kit! I like your idea of abandoning the audience for a while when you write, and to write without uncertainty. Pinker says in “Good Writing” that good writing is strong writing, and it’s almost impossible to be strong in your writing when you’re uncertain about what to write, and second guessing yourself. I love how you say that you want to “write freely with the hope of thinking, and think freely without the fear of revision”. I think that sentence sums up perfectly what the first three essays that we’ve read all have in common. Don’t restrain yourself on your first draft, because thinking and ideas can come from just putting words on paper! And also, although writing something that sounds crappy might scare you, thinking and writing freely is the only way to get a true sense of yourself, your voice, your style, and your ideas. When you’re thinking about other people, and what they might think of your writing, you’re going to be uncertain, and that’s going to lead to mistakes.

  2. Hi Kit!
    I can totally relate to what you are saying in the last two paragraphs, about trying to write freely, without the nagging consciousness about grammar and word choice and organization. Last semester, in my Writing 300 class, I realized how beneficial it can be to write without this critical awareness. One of the first reading assignments we had was about free writing (kind of similar to the “Shitty First Drafts” piece), and after reading it I tried really hard to write on a regular basis in an free-form manner, without any critical awareness. I find it easier to do this in a notebook by hand, because then I am not seduced by spell-check or the ease of the backspace key. I would recommend this to you, too–take a pencil and notebook and just write. You may have heard this from teachers before (I remember my 6th grade English teacher telling me about this method), but do not let your thoughts precede your written word. Don’t pause at all, just keep writing, even if you are writing the same word over and over again. Free-writing helped me bridge the gap between thinking and writing, and this has enabled me to better see what is really going on inside my head.

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