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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writing in your head

Suppose you were writing a book review. If you are anything like me, you would be thinking about what to write as you read the book, with actual words, phrases and even sentences forming in your head. Writing,then, is a mental activity. you have to write it down to know what you have, and also so as not to forget it, but the main work takes place in the brain.

I only point out something so self evident because I think the writing down is an obstacle for some. the student who can talk but not write, for example. I think that I could write just as well by dictating my words as by typing them or composing with pen,
When I write a poem, I think it up in my head and write it down later.

So perhaps the issue is one of memory. A working memory so weak that it can contain only a few words at a time?

1 comment:

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I don't think it's memory. Practice, maybe. My best friend and I, both professors from the same grad program, have both used voice software to write. Although I am known among friends and colleagues for formal speech patterns, everything I "wrote" with Dragon sounded very informal, not at all appropriate for even a conference paper, let alone written discourse. I had to do enormous amounts of editing to make anything but class handouts acceptable, and the teaching stuff needed to be edited so it wasn't so long-winded. My friend has used Dragon exclusively for years and can produce whatever register is appropriate for any occasion. But for me, writing is manual labor and I write much better by hand than by voice.

I think listeners fill in a lot for speakers; it's humbling to see exactly and only what you have vocalized written down.