I think it's mostly fear of writing. Some people are not comfortable having their dumb-ass ideas captured for posterity. Let's face it, writing makes us look stupid. I used to be afraid of that, but I GOT OVER IT. Yes, I got over my fear, and now I'm just angry. -- WaldenMathews
I'm almost sure it's FearOfWriting
. Most people are not comfortable having their dumb-ass ideas captured for posterity. Let's face it, writing makes us look stupid. I almost was afraid of that, but I GOT OVER IT too. Yes, I got over my fears but saying JustDoIt
, and now I'm just stupid. You say it all, people realize how dumb you are, if you are lucky they will let you know and you will realize. You are not so dumb anymore and once you have nothing more
to say and you have that wonderful and blissful WritersBlock
. -- GuillermoSchwarz
This is very true. I have always been an arrogant know-it-all who enjoys sharing my vast wisdom, and I find it hard to understand why most people are so reluctant to do so. I think it comes down to these things:
- Writing is hard work.
- As Walden notes: writing makes us look stupid. Every time we write, we take a risk that we are displaying ignorance or lack of intelligence. It's much easier to just hide.
- SelfDeprecatingHumor? solves the fear to some extent. That this might then encourage some to decrease the SignalToNoiseRatio is perhaps a good argument against SDH.
- Belief that somebody else has written or will write the same thing much better than you can, making your work look bad in comparison.
- Public school systems don't teach people to write well, so most people are not confident in their writing skills.
- Readers might become angry when they read things that are counter to their beliefs. Angry people may try to hurt you. (See also AvoidReligionAndPolitics??, MappersVsPackers)
- Written words are semi-permanent. They outlast the thoughts of the author, creating the possibility that someone will hold you responsible for opinions that you no longer hold.
- Your written words will speak for you when you are absent. Whether they communicate truthfully is dependent both upon your skill with writing them and upon the intelligence and beliefs of the reader.
I have a few pieces of advice for people who want to overcome fear of writing. First: write
. The more you do it, the more comfort and confidence you will have. Write in a journal for five minutes every day, write letters/e-mail to friends and relatives, write wiki pages, or whatever. Second: trust the readers
. Most readers will treat your writings thoughtfully and respectfully, and there is no reason to be afraid of them. A few jerks will attack you, but you can just ignore them. Sure, there are a few people who have gotten into serious trouble because of their writings, but you can certainly find some safe topics to write about. Finally, trust yourself
. Writing is the best way to find out what you really think and who you really are. Don't be afraid of that. --KrisJohnson
On the other hand, our profession is littered with the junk of all too many who are eager to display their ignorance, from total illiterates to semidocts. So do not write easily. A ration of 100:1 of reading:writing (and here I don't mean wiki and usenet reading) should be the minimum standard.
So DontWriteEasily? and ReadBeforeYouWrite?. Analyze your ideas and take them to the deepest logical consequences from several points if view before putting them down, and don't wait for others to uncover obvious flaws. It's an elementary and true sign of respect that you owe to your peers. Sometimes it so happens that we are wrong, that we miss the obvious, there's no shame or stigma about that, unless you are truely an EgoCentric?. But when this happens because AuthorsDontRead, then stigma and shame are truly deserved. --CostinCozianu
I agree that there is too much junk out there. But there is an important difference between writing
. I personally find it impossible to organize and analyze my ideas until after
I've written them down, and I get more out of other people's books and papers when I try writing about their subject matter. Writing should never be discouraged, but one should take care about whom one inflicts one's writings upon.
There are different standards that apply to different readers and different forums. Think about your readership, and what their expectations are. If you are writing a serious book or paper for publication, then you need to make it as close to perfect as you can. If you are sharing ideas with co-workers, then it is appropriate to be a little less formal and leave things open to improvement by others. In an open discussion forum, letting untested ideas fly around is often beneficial. If you are writing in your personal journal, then do whatever you like.
In any event, don't let fear of criticism get in your way.
TooMuchToRead can hardly be an excuse for spouting rubbish, though. Perhaps it is just a reason to SlowDownAndSmellTheFlowers??