I write for myself.
I write when there’s an incredibly hard idea that I need to teach myself. I write when I have a glimpse of an insight that’ll remain hidden until caught and penned down. Writing is a way of having long conversations with myself.
Sometimes I use the double column technique to reason out emotions. Every day I do garbage collection in my mind and dump it on a todo list. I maintain two dairies: one for distilled insights from stuff I’m reading and thinking about, and the second for rough sketches and workings.
Ideas are vague, floating and ephemeral. Putting them on a piece of paper (or up on a blog) makes them concrete and bundle them in a crystal-shape that you can show to other people.
Speaking and talking is cheap and usually off-the-record. Writing things makes them official – your claims are then on the record, so writing forces you think better.
Most good ideas are nuanced. There are a thousand caveats associated with anything worth talking about. These caveats – spoken – will bore the listener. Unspoken, they will misguide the listener (especially, if that listener is you). Writing gives you the ability to take all those caveats and convey them in a powerful and cohesive whole.
Some people prefer a one-line summary. They prefer fortune-cookie sized wisdom. But good things come with an effort. That’s why I like to read and write long, well-argued essays, full with a gazzilian caveats, sparking a bazzilian consequent ideas.
Good writing should be done first and foremost for oneself. Good writing should be done every time the mind is overloaded with activity arising either due to confusion or insight.
Write well, and write often because it’ll help you think confidently. Treat writing as an extension of your mind, so you can either discard things you don’t need by writing stuff on disposable pages, or crystallize ideas that aren’t letting you sleep well by putting them on a blog.
Have an opinion on this essay? You can send your feedback on email to me.