The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
The Intellectual, Emotional, and Physical Strains of Writing
I have mentioned that my writing is an intellectual, emotional, and physical strain on myself. I believe that I should comment on my manner of writing to explain these strains.
Professor Jordan Peterson in a discussion I viewed raised the point that most people think in terms of images or words. This raised the question in my mind on how I think. I have concluded that I think in a different way. I believe that I think in a combination of images, words, phrases, quotes, and mathematical and statistical terms. When I think about an issue or concern, I imagine an empty space in my mind in which I recall images, words, terms, phrases, quotes, mathematical and statistical concepts based on my knowledge and experience on the topic. I then create connections in my mind between these items. After I have connected these items, I then try to create a structure and order of these items. I then apply “A Philosophical Approach” to my thinking and reasoning to reach a conclusion. It is only after I do all of this that I begin to write.
And converting these combinations of images, words, terms, phrases, quotes, mathematical and statistical terms, their connections, and my philosophical musings into my writings is a heavy struggle. I have often said that English is my second language, while thinking is my first language. Those that know me, and my writing, know that my second language (English) can be very poor in spelling, grammar, and phraseology (thank God for computer spell checkers, thesaurus, and grammar checkers which I will comment on later in this article), and I struggle to write anything. I am a very organized and logical person, and I attempt to keep my writing organized and logical. I attempt to write clearly, concisely, completely, confidently, and understandably. As such, I hope that my articles are readable to all with a high school education.
The process of how I write is also an intellectual, emotional, and physical strain. I start by using Microsoft Word in Navigation mode. I then create a hierarchical structure of my thoughts, organizing and reorganizing the structure to assure that I have a reasoned order. It is at this point that I begin to write, and struggle to write the words under the navigational headings of my article. I begin to write, rewrite, and reorganize the words and phrasing I utilize, oftentimes many times over. During this writing process, I often do extensive online research, as well as peruse my extensive collection of books and “Adobe Acrobat Reader” documents and articles to assure that my facts and figures are correct. I also maintain and utilize a list of words and their meanings, as well as phrases that I believe can be utilized in other Articles and Chirps that I write. I utilize “ClipMate” to cut/copy/paste, and format and manage the clipboard data of the words and phrases that I use. I also utilize “WordWeb Pro” to look up words and phrases for spelling, thesaurus, and research purposes. While doing my online research I often start with “Wikipedia”[i] and then proceed with “Google” searches for other sources, facts, and opinions. I even occasionally create Microsoft Excel spreadsheets on the facts and statistics I have uncovered to assure that the information I write about is correct and true. While doing my online research I will often save the web page article in “Evernote” for current and future reference for my (potential) articles. I will also create web page hyperlinks within my Article and Chirps to other things I have written, as well as other pertinent web articles that I have discovered in my research. Whenever I quote someone, I do a Google search to assure the quote is correct and attributed to the author. Sometimes I may fail to properly attribute someone as I have lost, did not properly retain, or cannot find the proper attribution (I admit that I am human and that I sometimes make mistakes). In this case, I would like to sincerely apologize to the authors, and if anyone discovers the attribution I would appreciate an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I may add the proper attributions in my articles.
During this entire process, I will often take a short cigar-smoking break where I ponder on what I have thought and written to assure that I say what I mean and say it properly. Being somewhat compulsive and obsessive I find it difficult to stop thinking and writing until I have the first draft of an Article or Chirp. I am also a very focused person and not easily distracted when I think or write. Therefore, I often concentrate on what I am thinking or writing to the exclusion of all else around me. I also consume great quantities of coffee, with cream and sugar, when writing these Articles and Chirps. And now that I am retired not a day goes by that I don’t jot down words, phrases, or thoughts that may become Articles or Chirps. When I have finished the first draft of my Article or Chirp I will stop writing for several hours, and most often until the next day, when I will peruse, reread, correct, recorrect, reformulate, and reorganize my words and terms to assure I have written what I meant, and that I have written it clearly, concisely, completely, confidently, and understandably.
After I believe that I have a final draft I will utilize “Grammarly for Microsoft Office” to double-check my spelling and grammar. I will often then wait for the next day, and a final read, before I will post the Article or Chirp. I utilize the online web site “WordHTML” to convert the Microsoft Word Article or Chirp into the HTML format that is required to post the Article or Chirp. I utilize “BlueGriffon” as my web page editor to incorporate the Article and Chirp into my web site and then uploaded the Article or Chirp to my web site.
This process often takes many hours, and usually over several days, to accomplish. As I have eyesight and muscle/ligament problems this process can aggravate these problems and cause eyestrain and my aches and pains to flare up. As such, I sometimes have physical discomforts during and after my writing.
The emotional strain is that in writing my Articles and Chirps I am opening my thoughts and feelings to public scrutiny. I struggle to construct the proper words, terms, and reasoning so that I will not miscommunicate my thoughts and feelings and the reader will, hopefully, not misunderstand what I have written. It is only after I have satisfied myself that I have achieved these goals do I post an Article or Chip on this web site. But my writing is often cathartic in that I get to rail against the inanities, stupidities, and foolishness of those who do not reason but emote on issues and concerns that I write about.
In explaining this process, I am hopeful that you will understand the time and effort I expend to ensure that what I write is factual and accurate. My opinions that I express are based on these efforts, and my knowledge and experience, but they are opinions, and I am acceptable to reasoned arguments contrary to my opinions. I would ask anyone who disagrees with what I have written in these Articles and Chirps to please keep this disagreement reasonable and civil. If they should respond to me in an e-mail (email@example.com). I am open to critique and will sometimes take criticism. I will always ignore demonization, denigration, and disparagement, or point out the vacuous nature of the character flaws of those that wish to silence the messenger rather than deal with the message.
I, therefore, hope that you can now understand what the intellectual, emotional, and physical strains are on myself that I encounter when writing these Articles and Chirps.
[i] Wikipedia, although a good reference web site, can be incorrect or incomplete. It also contains the logical fallacies and cognitive biases of its authors. And these biases are often of the liberal/progressive viewpoints of its authors. You, therefore, need to be cautious when utilizing Wikipedia and cross check its information with other reputable and counter-point web sites.