The first formation of this thought, for me, was when I went back to college in the summer of 1994. I was forty-three (43) at the time and returning to “higher education” was a scary thought that turned into action. It (writing is thinking) was an assignment by my E102 (English, the research paper) professor. (Shout out to him! He knows who he is, and it is my sincere wish he’s alive and thriving. In fact his comment on my paper was, “You could teach this class.” Which sixteen years later I sort-of did.)
The concept of writing as a form of thinking has been a guiding principle, or value, for me ever since. The professor loved my paper, which added to the positive reinforcement I’d been getting for my writing and thinking at that time in my life.
Subsequently, I’ve never stopped writing and thinking, or maybe more accurately thinking and writing, and then re-thinking what I thought, and wrote (also known as rewriting and re-thinking) – which I think I’d make clear in the paper.
And but so [Shout out to David Foster Wallace] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Foster_Wallace
Here is my original paper [unedited, but with hyperlinks available today]:
Writing Is Thinking
Writing is thinking, that is if we consider writing to be more than just the physical act of taking pen in hand, or placing fingers on the keyboard, and copying someone else’s written thoughts. It is my belief that writing is a process that takes thinking to a higher level. Writing, or putting one’s thoughts down on paper, has demand characteristics that require the subject to at least consider some form of justification for that which he is thinking. It is a process that links together one’s thought and actions, and thus has the effect of causing one to go beyond a simple automatic, knee-jerk, heuristic. It also has the consequence of clarifying and strengthening one’s beliefs and attitudes. Let’s take, for example, a psychological experiment conducted by Donald G. Dutton and Arthur P. Aron concerning sexual attraction under high anxiety (Ayala M. Pines & Christina Maslach; Experiencing Social Psychology, 1993, Pgs, 234-240). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misattribution_of_arousal
In this experiment male subjects misattributed the physiological arousal experienced with crossing a high suspension bridge to that of attraction for a becoming female interviewer. This thought and subsequent action taken by a majority of the subjects (telephoning the women), most probably would not have occurred had the subjects been asked to write about their experience. In the process of writing about the day’s events and its affects on them, the subjects would be more likely to properly place the arousal they felt with the crossing of the bridge, and not with the meeting of the girl, which occurred afterwards. They would also be more inclined to examine just what it was about the girl they liked, and might have come up with nothing. On the other hand, in writing about the experience, some of the subjects may well have so bought into the romantic fantasy of “love at first sight” that they actually strengthened their misattribution to the point of convincing themselves that this was indeed a girl worthy of serious courting. In either event, writing about it would deepen the experience and increase the chances of it becoming a significant part of the subjects lives.
In the act of writing, we are in a way making a public declaration of our thoughts. At the very least we are making them a historical fact, and so we will want them to be justifiable if not entirely accurate, lest we look the fool. and so it is that our writing is not only thinking, but thinking at a higher level.
2 thoughts on “Writing is thinking, part II”
And but so (see above); as publishing changes via the “‘brave’ new world” I added some links to my original paper regarding definitions, etc. Anyway, read at your own risk?