If all that’s necessary to complete is work things out, why do you need to write anything, though?
Have you thought to just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne’s great discovery. Expressing ideas really helps to indeed form them, helps is far too weak a word. Almost all of what leads to my essays I only looked at when I sat down seriously to write them. This is exactly why they are written by me.
In the things you write in school you are, the theory is that, merely explaining yourself to the reader. In a real essay you’re writing on your own. You are thinking out loud.
But not quite paper writer. In the same way inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something which other people will read forces you to think well. So that it does matter to own an audience. The items i have written simply for myself are no good. They tend to peter out. Whenever I run into difficulties, I find I conclude with a few vague questions and then drift off to have a cup of tea.
Many published essays peter out in the way that is same. Particularly the sort authored by the staff writers of newsmagazines. Outside writers have a tendency to supply editorials associated with defend-a-position variety, which make a beeline toward a rousing (and foreordained) conclusion. But the staff writers feel obliged to write something “balanced.” Since they’re writing for a magazine that is popular they start with probably the most radioactively controversial questions, from which– because they’re writing for a well known magazine– they then go to recoil in terror. Abortion, for or against? This group says the one thing. That group says another. The one thing is definite: the relevant real question is a complex one. (but do not get mad at us. We did not draw any conclusions.)
Questions aren’t enough. An essay has got to show up with answers. They don’t always, needless to say. Sometimes you start with a promising question and get nowhere. But those that you do not publish. Those are just like experiments that get inconclusive results. An essay you publish need to tell the reader something he did not already fully know.
But what he is told by you does not matter, so long as it really is interesting. I am sometimes accused of meandering. In defend-a-position writing that might be a flaw. There you aren’t concerned with truth. You know in which you’re going, and also you want to go straight there, blustering through obstacles, and hand-waving the right path across swampy ground. But that’s not what you’re wanting to do in an essay. An essay is supposed to be a search for truth. It would be suspicious if it did not meander.
The Meander (aka Menderes) is a river in Turkey.
While you might expect, it winds all over the place. But it does not try this out of frivolity. The path this has discovered is the most route that is economical the sea.
The river’s algorithm is straightforward. At each step, flow down. This translates to: flow interesting for the essayist. Of all the places to go next, choose the most fascinating. One can’t have quite as foresight that is little a river. I usually know generally the things I want to talk about. Yet not the conclusions that are specific wish to reach; from paragraph to paragraph I let the ideas take their course.
This doesn’t always work.
Sometimes, like a river, one runs up against a wall. I quickly perform some thing that is same river does: backtrack. At one point in this essay i discovered that after following a thread that is certain ran away from ideas. I had to return seven paragraphs and start over an additional direction.
Fundamentally an essay is a train of thought– but a cleaned-up train of thought, as dialogue is conversation that is cleaned-up. Real thought, like real conversation, is full of false starts. It could be exhausting to read. You will need to cut and fill to emphasize the thread that is central like an illustrator inking over a pencil drawing. But try not to change so much that the spontaneity is lost by you regarding the original.
Err from the region of the river. An essay is not a reference work. It isn’t something you read searching for a answer that is specific and feel cheated if you don’t believe it is. I would much rather read an essay that went off in an unexpected but interesting direction than one which plodded dutifully along a prescribed course.
So what’s interesting? In my situation, interesting means surprise. Interfaces, as Geoffrey James has said, should follow the principle of least astonishment. A button that looks it stop, not speed up like it will make a machine stop should make. Essays must do the alternative. Essays should aim for maximum surprise.
I happened to be scared of flying for a long time and could only travel vicariously. When friends came back from faraway places, it wasnot only out of politeness they saw that I asked what. I must say I wished to know. And I also found the simplest way to get information away from them was to ask what surprised them. How was the place different from whatever they expected? It is an extremely useful question. You can ask it of the very most people that are unobservant and it will extract information they didn’t even understand these were recording.
Surprises are things that you not merely didn’t know, but that contradict things you thought you knew. And in addition they’re the most valuable kind of fact you could get. They are like a food that’s not merely healthy, but counteracts the unhealthy aftereffects of things you have already eaten.
How do you find surprises? Well, therein lies half the work of essay writing. (The other half is expressing yourself well.) The trick is to use yourself as a proxy for the reader. You should only talk about things you’ve thought about a whole lot. And anything you come across that surprises you, who’ve seriously considered this issue a great deal, will probably surprise most readers.
As an example, in a current essay I pointed out that with them, no one knows who the best programmers are overall because you can only judge computer programmers by working. I didn’t realize this once I began that essay, as well as now it is found by me type of weird. That is what you are looking for.
So you need two ingredients: a few topics you’ve thought about a lot, and some ability to ferret out the unexpected if you want to write essays.
What should you think about? My guess is that it does not matter– that anything may be interesting in the event that you get deeply enough into it. One possible exception might be things that have deliberately had all of the variation sucked away from them, like working in fast food. In retrospect, was there anything interesting about working at Baskin-Robbins? Well, it absolutely was interesting how color that is important to the customers. Kids a certain age would point to the case and say that they wanted yellow. Did they need French Vanilla or Lemon? They would just glance at you blankly. They wanted yellow. After which there was the mystery of why the perennial favorite Pralines ‘n’ Cream was so appealing. (I think now it was the salt.) Therefore the difference between the real way fathers and mothers bought ice cream because of their kids: the fathers like benevolent kings bestowing largesse, the mothers harried, giving in to pressure. So, yes, there does be seemingly some material even in junk food.