The engine

Someone asked the rather innocuous question, “What do you wish you had started earlier in life?” The answers were mostly predictable. Exercise, meditation, reading, long walks, tech sabbaticals. My answer to the question is equally mundane: “Writing. Specifically, blogging.” 

I’ve talked before about the barbell of writing that I employ. At one end is short-form, the other, long-form. This blog is where I focus on birthing ideas, on coming up with things, on thinking in interesting and novel ways. My books are where I take a compelling idea and attempt to squeeze the life out of it. 

I know all this. But it wasn’t until I read that question and asked it of myself that I realised why writing is a such a profound activity for me. Most have heard Descartes’ famous adage, “I think, therefore I am.” I would modify that. Initially, I thought I’d change it to, “I think, therefore I write.” But that’s wrong, for me. Many are prodigious enough thinkers that they need to write to stop themselves from overflowing, from exploding. Like a bathtub whose taps cannot be turned off, they need to find a way to extract the water. Not me. “I write, therefore I think.” Writing is the engine that drives my thought, not the other way around. It compels me to wonder about things I wouldn’t otherwise have imagined. 

This is why I wish I’d have done it earlier, and why I’ve committed to doing it until I die. I write, therefore I think.