How Writing Leads to Thinking: A Reflection

Hunt’s first rule for writing is truly my number one rule for life; don’t look at notes. Looking at notes regardless of the situation gets you nowhere, the learning potential has completely stalemated. Reading over your own words for the 400th time is not going to all of a sudden inspire the utmost of creativity. It is with physical progress that one can continue to grow. Hunt’s first rule piggy-backs perfectly off of “Shitty First Drafts” and the idea that even the shittiest of bullshit writing is a step in the right direction. Words on paper. Ready for revision.

Don’t look at notes Hunt says. This idea is similar to “don’t dwell on the past.” When I’m sitting in bed, hitting myself in the face for the bullshit I faced throughout the day, I can’t help myself from peeking in my mind at the notes. These notes are my notes, the ones I made and stashed away to remind myself of all that had occurred. But thinking about the past and all that you wish to change doesn’t get you anywhere. It isn’t until you take the first physical step to┬áturn things around that one can forget about his or her regrets. Thinking about it doesn’t get you anywhere.

But writing. Writing can get you thinking. And that kind of deeper thinking can get you moving in a direction, anything but still really which is what matters. Only writing can produce a change, a change directed towards a discovery for new thinking.

I’ve considered writing a book. Well I’ve thought about it. I reread my notes on thinking about it. Which, just as Hunt predicted, has gotten me absolutely nowhere. It will not be until I can follow the radish rule that progress will be made. My patience will have to be tested, but the end goal is possible. Don’t look at notes.

Reading Hunt’s piece reminded me about why I wanted to apply to the Writing Minor in the first place. I discovered writing when I least expected it, when I couldn’t find even the simplest of truths in myself on a surface level. It took practically rambling on paper and weaving through incomprehensible sentences to discover what was truly plaguing my self esteem. I was lost and the mechanisms of which I had once had to find myself no longer were successful. Finding writing was a blessing, a safe place to write until I learned. I learned about who I wanted to be. By not second guessing myself and constantly putting words on paper I hope that I will revise my way to clarity. Don’t look at your notes, Kelly.

2 thoughts to “How Writing Leads to Thinking: A Reflection”

  1. Notes certainly can hinder our thoughts as we sometimes view them as the end point to an idea. What about viewing notes as a mechanism to move forward? A simple change in mentality can go a long way and achieve what you want. Perhaps you should revisit your notes in a way that your end goal is not to “dwell on your past,” but an opportunity to add the next bullet point. I similarly get stuck by relying too heavily on notes, but I find that when I look to add to them (write more) in a non-formal method (adding the next bullet point) it forces me to explore the other parts of my brains (and inherently other ideas). Perhaps, my (maybe even our) issue is that we read our notes and analyze them too much in our minds when we should be doing that visitation by adding more words to the page. Best of luck with your book!

  2. I really appreciate your application of the points in Hunt’s article to real-life circumstances, like hitting your face at night while thinking back on the bullshit. That’s so real.
    Dwelling on the past often leads to a blown-out-of-proportion inaccurate version of the truth. Moving forward, in life and in writing, is so much more beneficial.
    Although, I recently watched an artist speak and he gave some words of advice which I thought to be valid. He said that sometimes it is important to look back at your notes from years ago, to remind yourself what you were thinking about. You seem to be referring to more recent notes, and I agree that those are sometimes not helpful. But maybe in a few years, they will be. Maybe you’ll look back and with a new perspective finally realize what you were trying to say.

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