All of RP's Comments + Replies

My main takeaway from your comment is that not all thoughts are of an expressible form, and that there’s a pre-writing step where inexpressible thoughts sometimes become expressible ones.

Before your comment, I would’ve considered the step you discuss part of step (1) of the intro (‘have a thought’). But, I think you make a good point about the end of idea formation being separable from the end of clarifying that idea into a potentially communicable thing—and about both being separable from the act of actually communicating the thing (e.g. writing). 

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2Ace Delgado9mo
That's a good summary of the main thrust of my comment. I am very glad to have had an influence on your position here! On these steps being vague and perhaps arbitrary, I think this primarily arises from the difficulties we experience in observing the functions of our own mind. Using examples, though, I think we can discover some aspects of these steps in our thought-formation (sorry if this is getting a little far from the initial topic of writing advice!). If I see a mug precariously perched on the edge of a table, and that table then shakes, causing the mug to teeter over, I think to myself "that mug is about to fall off the table and onto the floor". Except I don't. Not really. The real content of my thought is not that phrase in english, not unless I am actively trying to have an inner monologue in language, or considering communicating this fact to someone else in the room. But nevertheless that phrase would be an accurate description of my thought - so what's going on there? To borrow from my very limited knowledge of neuroscience, I think one could replace each of the words in that sentence with a particular web of neurons. Each of those webs would contain my collective understanding of the concepts - 'mug', 'table', 'falling' et cetera. But the thoughts are not in and of themselves those words - it is only when I activate an adjacent web, the web used for expressing those conceptions, that they are crystallised into a thought in language. The extent to which that conception rings true for you, I think, is the extent to which you can intuitively agree with the need to differentiate these steps as distinct (the step of adjusting the form of the expression would be beyond this as another distinct action). What do you think? Unfortunately my awareness of epistemology is rather limited. My intuition tells me that "I think x" and "I think I think x" are two distinct, different thoughts in the same format -  they are both a conscious conception about some obj

The point of point 10 is that overusing words like ‘like’ or choosing simple, possibly-inexact words can cause problems. In particular, it can cause writing to stray from being about the idea to being about the interaction with the idea (see point 9), it can set the wrong kind of vibe (communicate the wrong emotive thought to the reader), and it can occasionally obscure the logical content. I think using ‘like’ and deliberately simplified language is great when one is thinking through one’s ideas, but I think it often makes writing less sharp (less bell-like, if that simile resonates).