Writing about thinking about thinking

So I’ve start­ed anoth­er blog because I need a space to think. It’s like Rus­sell Davies said: “writ­ing more, for me, equals think­ing more”.

I recent­ly saw this talk by John Cleese which con­tains a great piece of advice on how to be cre­ative: sit down for an hour and think about some­thing. And I realised that I don’t think much; my time is always filled.

By the way, this is not one of those posts that bemoans infor­ma­tion over­load; the quan­ti­ty of infor­ma­tion I receive is pret­ty high, but that’s my choice, not an inevitable con­se­quence of tech­nol­o­gy.

I don’t think a lot. When I have spare time at home, I work on a project; my oth­er major block of free time, my com­mute, is filled with read­ing. I some­times cycle, which is good for my health but not for cre­ative think­ing time. Occa­sion­al­ly, when I real­ly need to think about some­thing, I choose to take the bus instead of the train, as it takes longer and I find it eas­i­er to get relaxed for think­ing (although this can quick­ly turn to sleepi­ness).

So I need more time to think, and writ­ing more equals think­ing more, so I some­times tweet half-formed thoughts (in amongst the ‘jokes’). But while Twit­ter is good for many things, it’s less so for being able to revise or rephrase a thought. To use an alle­go­ry from Daniel Kahneman’s book, Think­ing Fast and Slow: Twit­ter is Sys­tem 1, for instinc­tive and emo­tion­al thoughts; blog­ging is Sys­tem 2, for more con­sid­ered, log­i­cal thoughts.

I already have anoth­er blog, Bro­ken Links, but that’s where I pre­fer to do tech­ni­cal writ­ing, which is a quite sep­a­rate dis­ci­pline.

All of which is to say: this is my blog for think­ing.

Pictures intended to be read

Any­one who knows me, knows that I’m a huge fan of the comics artist Chris Ware. His art is extreme­ly geo­met­ric and pre­cise, full of straight lines and hard angles, and excep­tion­al­ly detailed.

His sketch­es, how­ev­er, are the oppo­site: rough, organ­ic, and loose. Most artists show  sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences between sketch and final piece, but rarely is it as shock­ing­ly dis­tinct as in Ware’s work.

His expla­na­tion is that in comics “pic­tures are intend­ed to be read”. He con­sid­ered the dis­tinc­tion between ‘hand­writ­ten’ and ‘type­set’, where the for­mer dic­tates a cer­tain per­son­al­i­ty to the mes­sage, lead­ing him to try to cre­ate a type­set style of draw­ing aimed at mak­ing the read­er less aware of the art and more of the sto­ry.

He describes this as “see­ing with­out see­ing”.