Staring at a blinking cursor on a draft post does elicit quite the runaway stream of thoughts about what on earth I’ll write about, how I would go about writing whatever that might be, all while concurrently reflecting on the impressions my writing style, content, and signals might make on any passerby.
Oh well, guess I’ll write anyways. I’ve spent too many gorram years lurking, reading, absorbing, etc. and not actively developing my writing faculties or discussing interesting things with people who are of shorter inferential distance to me that most. This seems like a problem that’s easily solved by simply starting to write, not allowing for my efforts to be vanquished by my personal perfectionist daemon, and doing what is good enough for the moment...plus, writing and participating in discussions dramatically increase the rate and quality of my intellectual development, so, yay!
I don’t think it’s possible to convey how absolutely weird it is to me to see words published with a moniker I use attached to them. Not sure if that will ever stop being weird, because isn’t it ridiculous? This whole writing thing as a “crystallization” of one’s present state of being and cognition into a less ephemeral medium is certainly a great boon to trying to have human civilization, since it allows for “permanent” records of ideas, culture, blah blah, etc. you get the point...but as a social animal it does feel rather scary to “put oneself out there” for the world to see and judge. What else am I supposed to do though? Not do that? Pah. I need to do that for a variety of reasons, including Tsuyoku Naritai. So I shall.
Next time: I’m not entirely sure what I’ll talk about, but lately I have been focusing on “how to ask good questions”, so maybe it will be about that subject.
Take care of yourself, valete
Welcome! Sounds like you've been around for a while, but I am looking forward to seeing more of your writing! :)
Thanks! I have been around since sometime in 2015 or so when I first stumbled onto this corner of the internet and also SlateStarCodex. Binge-reading HPMOR hooked me and later I went on to read the Sequences which were likely one of the most influential "info dumps" I've ever read that were collected all in one place. In fact, I should likely re-read them at some point with a more critical eye and really reflect on the way my worldview and ideas have changed as a result of reading them, it's beneficial to know why you believe what you believe and develop a provenance for such things so you can see how they've developed and changed over time (plus remember why you came to change your mind or hold a new belief).
My problem with "just writing" is, that I tend to ramble sometimes. And there is a difference between articulating a thought in a structured way that is comprehensible to readers or just writing on and on about a complex matter where I get new ideas and those new ideas get me thinking more and spawn other things and then I still have other themes that I need to adress and that lag a good crossover now (because of the new things that just kind of evolved while writing).
Aye, there are differences in the way writing turns out depending on your purpose for writing. If the goal is to merely write for writings' sake, well maybe that's not the most helpful thing unless it's an individual's personal manner of entertaining themselves (we all do different things for fun). My goal for writing here on LW is to practise deliberate writing/communication practice and get better at developing, refining, critiquing, etc. ideas and having discussions with others in a more formal communication style that allows for "high levels" of thought and analysis.
It's helpful to ramble sometimes if you're exploring and not necessarily sure where you're going or what you're going to say, I do that a lot (word vomiting ftw!) because I like to journal frequently. It's also important to consider why you're exploring, maybe for certain topics at certain times it's helpful to do such rambling and exploring publicly, perhaps on a personal blog site or on your LW page with a <ramble> / <exploration> tag? I think that kind of writing is likely necessary to do in addition to the more formal and structure kind of writing where you etch out a comprehensible thesis, defend it, discuss it, etc., but I've only done it privately so far (although this post could probably be classified as very "exploratory" writing). Why I think doing both types of writing is necessary is somewhat mysterious for me, but my initial take is that to build up to the nice and structure comprehensible piece, one likely has to spend some time connecting dots and reflecting on things that haven't been aggregated together into one conceptual framework, and rambling exploratory writing seems to be the method for doing just that.
Welcome! I'd recommend taking advantage of physical meetups if you can. I still lurk a lot, but meeting a few people in person made me feel a lot more comfortable.
Aye, I’ve started attending local meetups, fortunately they’ve started occurring again in my area after a long drought. It’s a small group so far, but I am enjoying the discussions we’re having and the people I’m having them with. Physical meetups definitely add a lot of value for the community I think.
This sounds a lot like me a month or so ago. It does get slightly less scary as you get used to it!
Well that's good :)
Maybe it'll feel less strange one day too as I get more comfortable with actually having bits of myself strewn about in public, hopefully!