On writing

Paul Graham has recently wrote a short, but non-the-less interesting essey about writing. He explains why writing is important and how to write well.

Writing well is a nicely covered topic. There are numerous books on communications in general and writing in particular. Most collegues require passing of at least one writing or communications course even for the Diploma.

Reasons for writing is yet another story. I have, of course, seen other people explaining why writing is important. But these are very rare and usually boring explanations. Paul Graham does a very nice job here.

I think it’s far more important to write well than most people realize. Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.

This explanation, though brief, is very much to the point. It is so true that it is hard to emphasize. It reminds me of my own explanations on why learning touchtyping is important. People who can’t touchtype will try to avoid typing (willingly or not). Learning touchtyping clears a huge barrier between human and computer and allows said human to use said computer to a greater extent. Computer becomes more of a tool. Similarly, practicing writing makes ideas generation and control easier. Routine, if you will.

Just a couple of days ago I was telling Olga how daily blogging improved my writing and thinking. Slowly, slowly, but it sure did. Writing a few paragraphs from the top of my head has never been easier. And the fun part is that when I start writing I don’t know what I will write. It’s like a faucet. I just know the topic that I want to write on (like cold or hot water) and than I open the tap and let it flow. It feels amazing. At first, I realize that I didn’t just want to cover the topic, but that I had some thoughts on the background. They get out and get written. While I type them in, I have other thoughts about wheather I was right or not with each idea that I am writing about. It gets me thinking, and so I write about it too. And than I either come to some conclusion or realize that I have to do some more thinking on the topic. So I end the post either with a defined state or a rumpled sentense.

I feel glad when I end with some sort of conclusion. Having no crystal end doesn’t bug me a lot though. Becaus I know that at some later stage I will sit down and write few more paragraphs on the topic. And maybe conclusion will come than. The funny thing is that sometimes I write even more than I want to. This makes me feel guilty. Like when I have three or four long posts in one day. I am thinking “Who will be reading this? People like short posts and a link to some cool website.” But than I remember the important bit – my writing is primarily for myself. It helps me think and keep my head in clear state. I know that I will be the one rereading it. Multiple times.

And those who don’t like it can always skip/ignore it…

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