Hi! I'm Tanner.

I'm a software engineer at Apple. I write here occassionally.

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The Process of Writing

On Tuesday while working on preparing for an interview for an ENGL 1101 project, I tweeted the following tweet.

The idea of archiving thoughts through audio than writing seems so much a better idea right now…

After tweeting this my ENGL 1101 professor tweeted back asking why this was so and I replied as so.

@ktcrow For me, when writing thoughts I am censored by the medium of writing. The process of writing is the middleman to record my thoughts.

In end, the idea was interesting to me and I thought I might write a blog on it. So here I am. Have I said “tweet” enough?

When I write a blog post, assuming I know what I’m going to write about, I take several steps as I write the post. Do I want to use “we”, “I”, or “you”? How do I want to organize it? Do I want to tell a little story or do I just want to tell everything flat-out? Should I ask rhetorical questions throughout the post? Do I like the wording of that sentence? Is there a better way to describe this? Should I be funny?

What I am trying to say is that a lot of thoughts that I go through when I write a blog post. Now if you pay attention, there is one thing that shows up only once among all the other things - what I am writing about. The real, physical content of the post has perhaps the lowest brain process priority; I will spend more time thinking about how I want to format things and not just saying what I want to say.

So what am I saying? That when writing, formatting and wording can get in the way. I am not saying that they are unnecessary, but there are times when they can get in the way. If you are writing a letter to the President, you write a nice little letter with a few paragraphs not just “Don’t build the bomb”.

When speaking verbally, we rarely not think about how we format what we say unless we are doing something impromptu in front of people we have great value for - our bosses or professors. When speaking, there is no medium. We speak every day to our friends, family, and respected others. We are used to speaking. Speaking is our primary means of communication.

Remember back to when you did not know how to write. When you learned to write, what was it for? It was for formal things - essays, papers, “The dog ran.” kind of things. To us, to my generation, writing is something formal - like cursive. We will use cursive when we have to on our signatures, “I hereby accept” statements, and the “I will not share answers” paragraph on the SAT - all important things. What do we use in the rest of our life - some version of print handwriting that we call our own. If writing is cursive, than verbal communication is print handwriting.

I suppose what I’m getting at here is that unless you are esteemed at writing or have a great deal of time to spend editing, it is very hard to write what exactly you are thinking. I am not saying it is not possible, but it is hard. For me, I have to write with my personality in a sense. I’ll think what I would say and that I write it. Most of the times what I say makes sense and does not make me look like an idiot.

Eureka ideas come from talking. Working through a hard problem comes from talking. Putting our thoughts down via writing is very hard, which may be apart of why have college students write blogs for ENGL 1101 is hard to do. Maybe they’re just lazy.

Some days you write professional things and some days you just be yourself. That is what the world is.

Footnote: This post is somewhat related to this post on the formats of an interview.