Sunday, May 16, 2004

Writing v. Speaking

Have you ever noticed that people tend to care more about what they write than about what they say? Kids certainly do. I think that is for 2 reasons. Writing seems more permanent (and, therefore, more important--even though sometimes what is said has the potential to be 10,000 times more damaging than what is written). I also think it is because we can talk without exposing too much of our inner self. That is not as easy to do with writing, for some reason. I find that I somehow process thoughts differently when I am writing. The words I write seem to me to be a much more direct link to my "inner core" than speech does for me, and, because it generally comes from that core, it almost always matters.

Of course, the fact that it can be edited and revised is also very satisfying for a person with my perfectionistic tendencies (although I must admit that I gave up on perfectionism when confronted with the limitations of the technological interface). I guess impatience weighs more than perfectionism!

I also find it interesting that my best thinking/writing occurs when I am writing to a specific reader--the result takes on a conversational tone and voice that is impossible for me to replicate when I am writing a form letter to a large group, for example. I find that I tend to rely on more "professional" prose for those--I can't tap into an emotional current to carry my words, I can't picture them and anticipate how they will react to different turns of phrase, I can't envision their delight (or disgust) at most of what I might want to say, so the task seems lackluster instead of scintillating--it drains my energy instead of rejuvenating it.

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