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Writing what you’re thinking

I was reading Scott Adams’ blog post today, Writing tip of the day. In it he talks about writing down what you’re thinking.

An amateur writer usually writes what he imagines other people think, or what other people have already written, or what other people might expect to be written. It is surprisingly difficult to capture your own thoughts in prose. And that means vast amounts of knowledge and creativity are stranded in skulls all over the world.

During lunch today I told my friend that he should just start writing down his thoughts and his feelings – everything that he feels like he’s unable to express, he should just start writing in a personal journal. He agreed. He’ll probably start writing this weekend. Or maybe he won’t.

It’s difficult to write down your thoughts or feelings. It’s difficult to find the right words to express what you’re thinking. It’s easy to give advice to people, to just say ‘start writing!’, but it’s not so easy to put those thoughts down onto paper or onto a computer screen.

As Scott Adams also says:

The first thing you must understand about writing your internal thoughts is that they are dangerous. If you can’t handle some danger, this sort of writing probably isn’t for you. If you only write down your non-dangerous thoughts, no one will want to read them.

When we share our ‘dangerous’ thoughts to others, or even to the world, we make ourselves vulnerable. Who knows what the consequences will be? Will people even care? Or will they use our thoughts against us at some future point? Will our life suddenly become more difficult because people know exactly what we’re thinking?

I was having a conversation about something like this just recently, with an online friend. It was their opinion that sharing my life online the way I do, through writing and photography, was hazardous. My friends’ concern was that I share so much, that it would take potential employers too long to look through it all, so they would just decide to write me off as a risk because they couldn’t spend the time looking through my content.

My own feelings are that if a potential employer focuses on paranoia more than they’re focused on my ability to do the job for them, then working with them would probably be a nightmare. So it’s better that they save us both the trouble and not recruit me.

I write because I want to write, because I can’t NOT write. I write because it burns inside of me and must be expressed. One way or another, what is in me will be written down.

But it’s not always written down the way I want, or I feel like there’s more to say, but I just don’t know how to say it.

This bit of what Scott Adams said is reverberating inside my mind:

If you only write down your non-dangerous thoughts, no one will want to read them.

Right now, I’m not even sure what ‘dangerous thoughts’ would look like. I’m not sure what I’d be able to write that is dangerous, and which makes me vulnerable. I don’t know yet how vulnerable I want to be. I don’t know where the line might be.

So of course I’ll just have to explore it and see.

Thanks for reading! Please add your own thoughts below.

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