For some, writing is the mechanism to sort one’s thoughts and bring order to them as well as to explore them beyond what simply sitting and thinking allows. For others speaking their thoughts and using verbalization to sort and explore is a more comfortable method. Often though, to the listener or reader, these are not unformed thoughts being explored and sorted, but conclusions by the source, fully formed.
One must be careful then I think, to allow the reader or listener to understand that it is a process rather than a conclusion, however ungracefully we may have to state it. “I’m just thinking out loud” is a common enough phrase, but “I’m just writing out loud”, is not. To preface one’s thought explorations clearly and succinctly is a skill sorely needed by the modern commentators on newsworthy events. To opine is to give an opinion, not to wander around within the topic searching for some sense of it on paper. Too often one reads a piece where the author begins with an apparent stance, then comes to a completely different conclusion. The pundits are “writing out loud”, but fail to give fair warning.
While it is tremendously helpful to sort one’s thoughts on paper, there is a purpose to editing oneself. Unfortunately, with the rush to be the first to get one’s opinion in print, the editorial process seems to have been forgotten. The frenetic pace of the technological world leaves little time for careful reasoned argument. Perhaps this is one of the causes of so much upheaval and simmering anger. Imagine one of the opinion pieces that begins with one stance and changes to another in conclusion, and the information flooded reader only reads the opening paragraph! With that “conclusion” the reader is off and spouting to the detriment of reasoned thinking.
Exercising care in our words, written, spoken or read requires time and patience in a world in short supply. However, reasoned discourse may be the last salvation of the human kind, and some small effort given to that by each of us, can provide some collective hope.
~Just writing out loud 😉