I Think; Therefore I Write

There is no doubt in my mind (and many other people’s, too) that good writing and critical thinking go hand in hand. In order to effectively get our message across in writing, we have to start with a base.

  • What is important?
  • To whom is it important?
  • Why is it important?
  • What does our audience need to know about this?
  • What is the most effective way to get the point across?
  • How will people use this information?

In order to answer these questions in our writing, we must investigate, sort, sift, organize, and present our information. We must decide what to include and what to leave out. We need to understand the needs of those receiving our message. If writing is becoming a lost art, is critical thinking far behind? About a year and a half ago, Mark James Miller wrote “Writing, thinking: A critical connection” for the Santa Maria Times. He pointed out that the highest rated ability employers are looking for is critical thinking. The good news is that critical thinking and writing skills can be taught; the bad news is that emphasis on teaching them is waning. It’s time to stand up for good thinking and good writing!


How to Have Great Intercourse–Writing

Good writing is like good lovemaking. When you concentrate on your partner’s needs, you both experience more pleasure.

Writers often forget this reciprocal relationship. Many don’t take the time to501-Troilus-and-Criseyde-III-the-kiss-picture-and-frame-wallpaper-q75-267x200 construct their ideas in a way that meets the needs of the reader. They either don’t know how, or they don’t want to.

Wait, what were those words? “Time,” “reader”? Good writers, like good lovers, discover what “turns on” their audience. They match the ideas they need to express with the interests and concerns of the reader. The result is a perfect communication connection.

Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was of utmost importance for children to express what they were feeling through their writing. Things like grammar, spelling, or word use (not to mention organization) were just shackles for the “creative spirit.”

The result is a whole bunch of sender-centric writers. It’s “me, me, me – this is what I want to tell you. I can’t help it if you’re too stupid to figure it out.”

These writers don’t understand that grammar and organization are the structure of writing, the Kama Sutra of the writing world, as it were. They are selfish writers forgetting that, if no one can understand what they are saying, their message fails.

In good writing, the idea is supreme. The reader loses herself in the idea and is unencumbered by the mechanics of the writing. This is like making love where the mutual emotion of pleasure transcends the lovers’ actions.

Here are some things to keep in mind for successful communication:

  • Never forget it takes at least two to communicate.
  • Proper grammar and punctuation are subtle triggers that move the reader toward ideas.
  • Organization is the structure supporting the communication process.
  • Don’t rush the writing process or there will be incomplete communication.
  • The harder the writer works to make things easy for the reader, the more satisfied both will end up.

Selfish writers, like selfish lovers, are concerned only for themselves. They write in a way that may give them release, but makes their readers work too hard to get a hold on their meaning. They leave their audience unsatisfied and frustrated.

Good writers, like good lovers, keep their readers’ needs in mind while working to share their ideas. They delight in the pleasure successful communication gives.