Writing topics

I’m going to start using this blog to bloviate about topics that I have no particular expertise on. In many cases, it’ll be things I come across in my daily life or conversations with friends. Sometimes it’ll be something I read or watched on TV or heard on the radio. In most cases, it’ll just be thoughts that are too unformed and wordy to make a pithy facebook post.

My rule for myself is: I pick a topic, I write about it for a session, and then I commit to posting whatever I’ve written at the end of that session, even if I feel that it’s incomplete and imperfect.

My goal in doing this is threefold.

First, I believe that this will make me a better writer. They say, after all, that the best way to write better is by writing more. In particular, I think I’ll benefit from some practice with saying something clear and concise about multifaceted topics. Forcing myself to publish what I’ve written is integral for this goal, because it is too easy to get caught up in the imperfection of what I’m writing and give up. So I will require myself to commit my thoughts, even if I feel they’re too vague, too disorganized, or too controversial. I’ll share my prose, even when I feel it’s clunky, unclear, or repetitive. And with that pressure, hopefully I’ll respond to the pressure and become less vague, more organized, and more clear. If not less controversial…

Second, as I organize my disparate thoughts enough to write about them, I find that my opinions themselves evolve. It’s not uncommon that I start with a position and try to outline the rational basis for it. Then I find that every supporting argument falls flat when I try to describe it clearly. I struggle to find the right words to show why my position is correct, until eventually it occurs to me that I cannot succeed because my position is not actually correct.

Third, this is just an outlet to dump thoughts and feelings that may not be appropriate to share in the conversation that triggered them in the first place. I might have things to say about a topic that would upset or irritate the person who raised the topic, and I see no value in doing that. But the ideas are still swirling around my brain, refusing to go away until I share them somewhere. Or I might have far too much to say about a topic, more than would be appropriate for a casual conversation. Perhaps this will help keep me from dominating conversations and sounding like a jackass.

Regardless, these thoughts all come with a big disclaimer: I’m often wrong, often uninformed, and the whole reason for putting things here in my personal blog is to avoid dumping them into someone else’s space.

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