ON RIDING YOUR TRAIN OF THOUGHT
Write essays to make up your mind.
An old saying goes: “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” That my seem silly, at first, and an excuse for merely blabbering, but my experience proves that rather than trying to ponder a subject in silent contemplation, figuring it out “in my head” abstractly, my thinking proceeds much more clearly and coherently when I speak or, even better, write.
This way, sentences begin to emerge and connect to subsequent sentences, building into paragraphs, taking shape tangibly, available now for review and revision. This way, a train of thought travels along a track, moving from station to station, paragraph by paragraph, toward a destination unlikely to be known until it’s reached.
To essay means to try or to attempt. To write an essay is to venture forth on a journey, eager to find out where your roving mind will take you and what unforeseen discoveries and revelations will emerge as you travel.
Grab a pad. Pick up a pen. Sit somewhere comfortable and quiet. Listen for the inklings of a notion. Then set your hand in motion to verbalize what’s flowing from your mind. Begin. Keep going. And see where you arrive.