Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Writing as a Form of Thinking

For me, one of the most compelling comments that both Luker and Knight made in these readings was that writing is a form of thinking distinct from thinking-without-writing-it-down. For instance, Luker puts it this way: “My own theory is that writing engages a very different part of the brain than reading and talking do, and that writing is the door that opens out to the magic” (21). Both writers urge researchers to write down their thoughts (questions, arguments, research strategies) as part of the research process.
I've always found it to be true that writing out my thoughts makes them both clearer and stronger, and I think in large part this is because in our minds we have more leeway to be vague, unspecific, and unclear, but in writing something down the act of choosing words and putting them together forces us to be clearer and more specific. This is especially true for me when considering the relationship between two concepts. I might be thinking in my mind that Keats' experience as a doctor appears in his poetry, but as soon as I start writing I wonder what I mean by “appears,” I try to come up with a better term...and then I realize that I need to figure out exactly what I mean when I use that verb.


  1. True! I also find that writing is a way for me to ensure that I am being honest with my self about my work. Or maybe it simultaneously creates the self that I can be honest with? Oh, postmodern complications....

  2. I definitely agree that writing plays a major part in the creative process. I often find myself doodling all over a piece of paper, drawing lines and pictures while preparing to write an essay, and I never considered it a crucial part of more formal writing. It will be interesting to see how being more open to free writing will effect future projects!