why writing?

Writing as crystallised thought, a way of expressing the labyrinth of interconnected, messy, and incoherent ideas in my mind. It is a form of knowledge distillation (Jacky on writing)

Writing is an exploration, an excavation of self and the world in this painfully intricate dance. It is a way to bridge the chasm between ideas, to extend a filament of one consciousness to others. It is an extension of self, a second brain, where bounded by constraining nets of syntax and grammar, providing grounds for freedom of expression and articulate one’s interests and curiosity.

The thing I like about writing is that it’s quite literally thinking—a way for me access my own interiority and construct something from it. What I write is all mine, it’s a living thing, it’s an extension of me that wanders out into the world. It is desire turned inwards instead of outwards, focused instead of displaced. It’s a way to access self-knowledge and self-respect. (Ava on how to avoid half-heartedness)

The modality of text essentially creates a universal interface that allows individuals from diverse backgrounds and contexts to form intricate networks of thoughts.

Andy Matuschak’s on books and writing:

Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

What I am doing right now, writing this essay, is, technically, a linear walk through the network of my ideas. That is what writing is: turning a net into a line. But it is also very concretely what I do, since I have externalised my ideas in a note-taking system where the thoughts are linked with hyperlinks (Henrik Karlsson, Reader-generated Essay)

At its core, writing endeavours to transmute the chaos of existence into discernible narratives, offering a conduit for shared understanding amidst the inherent disarray of life. Such a form of looseness in mutation

as playground.

Writing is also a playground for nurturing your “baby idea”. The mind are often overwhelming, and I found the act of writing therapeutic, and help organize and control inner entropy:

I notice this change most when I try to write. I think working a lot has made me a worse writer. 90 percent of the words I consume and produce in a week are emails, strategy docs, research reports, and documentation—text designed to be as digestible as possible for a busy, distracted end user. My prose has tightened, the excess trimmed. Information efficiency is paramount. I write like the 12 dollar desk salad, the bar that packs 20 grams of protein and plastic into one 200-calorie brick. But good writing, like a good meal, needs fat. It should indulge readers, is meant to be chewed and enjoyed, affording a generous escape from the prosaic and mundane. — Jasmine Sun

I write for me, and for me only. I see writing as a love letter from my past-self, crafted and permanently available on the internet for my future-self to read. Writing to me serves as an escape from the realm of the living, venturing into the wonderland. I didn’t grow up writing or reading much, but living abroad, I found solace in the land of the writers, getting loss in their imagination envisioning what the world should be.


You see, I think writing is this pursuit of clarity in the midst of chaos, a striving to impose some semblance of order on the boundless and unpredictable swirl of sensations, feelings, and thoughts that define our existence. It morphs into a bridge, spanning the chasm among individuals, carrying it across the echo: “This is me, this is the world as I see it, and is it the same for you?”

It’s a reverberation in the void, fuelled by a yearning that amidst the boundless human tapestry, there exists a soul that perceives the echo, reciprocates the sentiment, and in doing so, forges a minuscule yet profound filament of comprehension and empathy.

And yet, writing is an acknowledgement of the indelible solitude inherent to human existence. It is a quiet concession to the insurmountable walls that encase individuals’ inner sanctum. The act of writing is both a defiance of and a homage to the impenetrable mystery that shrouds the heart of another. Its delicate endeavour to articulate the inarticulable, to unveil the veiled, all the while knowing the quest may never consummate in total understanding.

In this paradox lies the profound beauty and torment of writing. It’s a ceaseless sojourn towards the horizon of connection, propelled by a boundless hope and a quixotic resolve, yet shadowed by the solemn acceptance of inherent disconnection. This complex interplay births the agony and the ecstasy of the writing voyage, the ceaseless pull between the allure of communion and the stark reality of intrinsic solitude.


Excerpt from George Orwell’s Why I Write

Sheer egoism:

But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

Aesthetic enthusiasm:

  • Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement
  • Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story
  • Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

Historical impulse

  • Seeing things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

Political purpose

  • Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

Orwell is often known for his democratic socialism, and opposed for totalitarianism. But his will to truth is fundamental to his writing, a true representation of intellectual honesty. In the context of totalitarianism, Orwell pointed out that such regimes demand the continuous alteration of the past and probably a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth. He saw the danger in a society that drifts from the truth, stating that it will hate those who speak it.


Excerpt from A blog post is a very long and complex search query to find fascinating people and make them route interesting stuff to your inbox

The pleasant parts of the internet seemed to be curated by human beings, not algorithms. For my writing to find its way in this netherworld, I needed to have a rough sense of how information flowed down there. The pattern was this: words flowed from the periphery to the centers. This was a surprisingly rapid stream. Then the words cascaded from the center down in a broader but slower stream to the periphery again.

When writing in public, there is a common idea that you should make it accessible. This is a left over from mass media. Words addressed to a large and diverse set of people need to be simple and clear and free of jargon. It is valuable to write clearly of course, to a degree. Clear writing is clear thinking

See also: this