Write How You Speak

Some people want to do philosophy but will barely talk on a philosophy forum because it takes them a lot of time and effort to write anything. They also don’t do enough private writing – notes, journaling, written brainstorming, written pro/con lists, essays, tree diagrams, etc.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://criticalfallibilism.com/write-how-you-speak/

That sounds like me.

I did have bad experiences with writing when I was in school. I guess because my goal for writing wasn’t to organize and share my ideas. It was to write what I thought would get a good grade.

I probably don’t keep that in mind enough. I get stuck on a path that’s needlessly difficult instead of looking for a better path forward.

That makes sense. It’s probably not necessary to worry so much about grammar when I’m writing something. And resist the urge to go back and rewrite simple sentences with minor improvements.

Yeah and the biggest errors (in my case) are usually nothing to do with grammar. The grammar isn’t what’s holding me back from making progress.

That sounds much more efficient.

This also sounds like me.

If you’re on a forum with your friends, then it’s even easier.

This makes a lot of sense. It should be pretty easy for me to post a lot.

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I think I have often been psychologically blocked from writing how I speak. I’m concerned that the way I speak is just too disorganized. If I write out a quick free write, the style is usually more like a list with a few points on the list that are a little more drawn out. My conversations and personal writings are pretty haphazard. I jump around with lots of tangents and non-sequitors. In order to avoid posting things that are confusing or put undue burden on forum readers, it seems that a fair bit of editing is necessary. I think writing multiple drafts would be a good excercise for me to try instead of editing. However, I think that would take longer so it would not solve the slowness problem that comes from not writing how I speak. And I would still desire come up with a more readable draft that would ultimately be in a form different from how I speak.

Another issue I have is more like writer’s block. I just don’t know if I should even bother saying any of the things that come to my mind on a subject. I get the feeling as I’m writing stuff out that the writing is pretty low value for anyone else to read. That kinda tends me toward writing stuff that I don’t post. To clarify, I haven’t written a lot that I didn’t post but not posting writing does come up. It comes up more as starting to write something and stopping because it seems like not a good thing to write out for a post. I also worry about saying things that are harmful because I don’t trust myself and I’m not good at evaluating that kind of thing.

I can see reasons to not write or post a comment like the one above. It doesn’t really engage directly with the main points of the article or go into specific analysis regarding the details in the article. It also brings up a bunch of personal issues that many forum participants may not benefit from and wouldn’t be interested in. What’s the point of writing a comment like the one above? I guess it helps get me thinking about some of my writing problems and offers up a perspective to others on one person’s issues. The post also didn’t require a big amount of effort or concentration so it’s maybe an example of doing something a little bit more like writing how I speak.

Lots of people have similar problems, and similar concerns and excuses for not writing much or not writing in certain ways, so it’s relevant to others.

I wrote an article suggesting a certain way of posting (writing how you speak) and discussing benefits primarily for the person doing it. You responded with concerns that making those posts would be bad for other people. My article didn’t address that concern (I think, based on skimming and memory). Other people easily could have come up with the same concern about the effect on other people.

Having a quiet forum with few posts, with an atmosphere where everyone is trying so hard to write higher quality posts that they’re unable to say much, is not beneficial for other people. Higher quality posts can actually be harder for people to respond to, which is one of the reasons my essays don’t get many responses. People would benefit from a more relaxed atmosphere, where it’s easier for them to communicate, and they are less worried about living up to some high standards they are trying to set for themselves before having the skill to make those standards reasonably achievable (it’s also unclear that using those standards all the time would be good even with tons of skill – I for one write informally and casually sometimes).

It causes problems to try to use standards when they’re hard because you haven’t already learned enough to pretty easily meet those standards. (See my articles about powering up by doing easy things and how trying to do hard things is inefficient.)

I understand not doing something because you don’t want to for your own sake or reasons. In my article, I tried to address that by talking about personal benefits. I don’t think it generally makes sense not to do something, which a forum owner recommends and wrote an essay trying to get people to do, just because you think it will be bad for the forum. Let him try the forum culture and atmosphere he wants at his forum, that he thinks will work well. (He has more relevant experience and knows some stuff about forums and philosophy that you don’t, so he could plausibly be right about what would make the forum better.)

That sounds like it might not actually be writing how you speak. Most of the time, people don’t speak in lists.

This sounds like a problem you probably don’t have in some of the situations when you’re speaking with people.

These are great points.

I have also been concerned about posting for similar reasons to you @fire. The question of my post’s value being one. So your comment expressed similar concerns I’ve personally had and resulted in a great response from Elliot. That’s of value to me.