The purpose of this blog will be twofold:
- Relearning writing, preferably with a sense of style
- Thinking clearly, because that which is not written is rarely clear
In the process of relearning writing to think, I’ll need topics to write about.
Knowing me, there will be quite a range. Included will be business and investing topics, some short stories, philosophical musings, and my slow-developing thoughts on charitable giving. Who knows what else.
Consistently generating content will be my primary objective. If I’m not writing, then my $48 spent for a year of the Personal Plan at WordPress.com will be wasted, and that would be terrible. Also, *actually writing* seems rather important to the creation of a blog, particularly a blog that is focused on improving one’s writing. So. Write consistently.
A nice side effect, as noted here, is that quantity seems to drive quality. I agree with that sentiment and note that the outputs must be examined (e.g., did this piece accomplish my goals?; what turn of phrase might fit nicely?; or, why did that sentence seem awkward?). My intuition is that quantity forces experimentation, and experiments, even if random, can help explore the realm of the possible (and the actually desirable subset thereof). However, if you don’t look at the results, good ideas will be regularly overlooked.
In addition to writing in great quantities, reading great quality as inspiration will be another tool in improving my written work. My reading diet typically consists of a mix of non-fiction and fiction books and then random people shouting on the internet in places like Twitter and Reddit. That may not be the healthiest, but I’m not changing it yet.
Only halfway (or so) through this post, and the “write to think” concept has been reinforced, once again. This is like running in good weather. After I’ve done it, without fail, I’m reminded of how great it is.
Among my favorite authors of shorter-form content is Matt Levine, over at Bloomberg (Money Stuff). While he’s transitioned to something closer to a news wrap, taking a quick look at a few interesting stories and generally trying to capture the last 24 hours, some of his earlier pieces, in which he dives deeply into a topic with impressive rigor and knowledge, are my favorites.
Scott Alexander at Star Slate Codex is another in a similar vein.
It remains to be seen if any writing of mine will be of value to others, but already, I see (once again) how helpful it can be in creating more coherent thinking.
Firstly, this is not a perfect post. I finished after midnight and the proofreading could have been better.
Ideas for improving future posts:
- Sharing drafts and getting feedback (could be friends / family / colleagues, as appropriate and/or seeking out professional proofreading and copyediting)
- Practice writing and remove bad habits from my daily writing (see: the point of this blog)
- Establish a more consistent tone/voice/tense throughout the post / blog
- Writing takes time (even the “finishing touches” took me a further 30 minutes)
- Link rot is pernicious and quite hard to deal with (see here)
Surprisingly good things:
- The English language is not lost on me: I can still write!
- Essaying, in the Paul Graham sense (of writing to figure out what you’re trying to say in the first place), works quite well. When I typed the title, I had no idea where I was going with this post or this blog. And, while still quite open-ended at this stage, progress was made by putting fingertips to keyboard.
Tomorrow will be a more tangible or technical post of some sort. Looking ahead and thinking about the past are both natural directions at this annual juncture.