Friday, March 24, 2017

Stir the Depths: Writing and Thinking

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In this EdWeek article, the author (Marva Hinton) begins with the following quote from Mighty Writers Mission web page:
To write with clarity, you have to think clearly first.
My opening line to the article would have been different:
To express yourself with clarity, write first.
"Writing." says author Isabel Allende, "is always giving some sort of order to the chaos of life."

Write first.

When you write first, you are able to order the chaos from which creativity emerges, often shy and silent, or bold and beautifully obnoxious. . .and every sparkle or shade in between. As a writer, I've seen others explore their ideas aloud, not unlike a writer struggling for the right words. Unfortunately, words spoken aloud are often lost. A speaker, shaping ideas aloud in thin air, must keep his ideas simple, to the point or lose the listener.

A writer disgorges a detritus of ideas, form the flow, filtering and clearing away the non-essential. Then, seeking fresh ideas, pick through the pile again, seeing which ideas may give a reader pause, which may be repurposed to feed a wolfling thought.

Express with Clarity.

"If I had more time, I would have written less." This popular quote, paraphrased from the original, highlights brevity in communication. Say only what is necessary to make the point, nothing more.

While politicians seek to obfuscate, writers seek clarity. Often, that can be best achieved through brevity, the removal of the non-essential. Writing may be likened to minimalism, which is sparseness and simplicity by design.

Stir the Depths

Writing in search of clarity means that we need not be like Zeus with fully-formed ideas springing from our minds to do war upon on the befuddled masses. Rather, we are in the Creator's image, stirring the murky depths, crafting beautiful horrors that exist in balance with the heart of the whole.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

1 comment:

Don said...

I agree 100%. Back in the early 90's, I developed an initial course for incoming freshmen at Howard Payne University titled "Logic and design tools". Before writing ANY code they had to write out the sequence in plain, simple English. It was painfully difficult at first, but they learned to think more clearly. I had more than a few who had been trying to write code on their, or Junior Transfers, who ALL me they wished they had learned earlier the skills I was teaching them. Everything after that was so much easier. They had to learn to think clearly.

The Courage to Lead