The more I’ve been writing recently, the more I’ve noticed something peculiar about myself and my own thought processes. By nature, I’m an introspective introvert. A lot of external stuff has the tendency to turn inward, which can be good–analysis, evaluation, self-control–but which can be less than constructive, as well–narcissism, self-censorship, negative self-worth. It took me most of the day to write the meager 1674 words of yesterday’s post, for example. But the process did bring something to light: my writing patterns very closely match my thought patterns during non-writing times. As an essay writer, my work is typically bound by observable fact and precedent, and follows a structured approach through evidence to conclusion.
Generally, this is also the way I think, and, self-imposed roadblocks aside, is perhaps a reason I am not as quick to action as I sometimes would like to be. But it got me thinking about how other writers think and approach problems. Unfortunately, I don’t write a lot of fiction, and when I do it ends up sounding more like analysis with dialogue. What I haven’t figured out is whether writing fiction alters the way people take in information from the world and process it, or if that mode of thinking is what makes people good at writing fiction. I, of course, compel myself to use an observation as an example. I’ve noticed that friends raised in environments steeped in superstition and tradition are more likely to believe ghost stories, and are usually the ones who claim to know someone who’s had an encounter. An argument to the opposite effect could be made, though, that superstition and tradition grow out of unexplainable phenomena.
The question I’m left with is whether it is possible to change (or at least diversify) one’s mode of thought by doing something different–like writing fiction–or whether we are more likely to change what we do by changing our thought processes. The easy answer to this would be to do both; start both and the shift will happen gradually. But I can’t help but think that’s a platitude.