Thinking Writer

I have previously said that writing involves a lot of thinking, and I add, especially when it comes to technical and academic writing that require specific formatting and structure, or writing to publish. From the starting point where you come up with an idea for an article, book, magazine or other publication, you have to think about what you want to write and how to write it. Once you gather all your thoughts on the subject matter and jot them down, you have to decide which ones are relevant for your piece and which ones will be discarded or kept for another time. These ideas may have come spontaneously at the time you decide to write or when you are given an assignment. Sometimes, though, they have been collected over a period of time through observation, listening, reading, asking questions, investigating, interviews, browsing the net, or just simply THINKING.

It is said that writing is a process that involves planning, writing the first draft, revising, proofreading & editing, and publishing or sharing. Although thinking goes on throughout the process, it is most demanding at the planning stage. The bulk of the work of writing lies in planning and writing the first draft.

To help your thinking, always have with you a small notebook or pad where you can jot everything that comes to mind; absolutely everything! Never underestimate the power of seemingly silly ideas that pop up in the most unlikely places, like when going up the lift, waiting for a bus or feeding the baby. The nature of our minds is such that the subconscious is active throughout unlike the conscious side which shuts down when we are asleep. I remember a time when I would write a lot of poems smack in the middle of the night! I would wake up sometime between 2am and 4am and suddenly words would stream into my thoughts prompting me to grab the pen and notebook I usually keep on a stool beside my bed.

Once you feel there are enough thoughts written in your notebook, find some time to go through them in a quiet place where there’s no interruption. You can use a highlighter to mark those you feel can be used in your writing, or simply cancel out with pen the ones you feel should be discarded. Sometimes the ‘silly’ ideas are simply stepping stones that lead us to more viable ones that make sense. As you do these exercise, you will be doing a lot of thinking, weighing this and that idea, asking yourself questions, etc.

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