Friday, February 23, 2018

Immediately writing things down...

From The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (p.111-112):
I think that I have become a little more skilful in guessing right explanations and in devising experimental tests; but this may probably be the result of mere practice, and of a larger store of knowledge. I have as much difficulty as ever in expressing myself clearly and concisely; and this difficulty has caused me a very great loss of time; but it has had the compensating advantage of forcing me to think long and intently about every sentence, and thus I have been often led to see errors in reasoning and in my own observations or those of others. 
There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind leading me to put at first my statement and proposition in a wrong or awkward form. Formerly I used to think about my sentences before writing them down; but for several years I have found that it saves time to scribble in a vile hand whole pages as quickly as I possibly can, contracting half the words; and then correct deliberately. Sentences thus scribbled down are often better ones than I could have written deliberately.
I've begun to try and cultivate the habit of writing more thoughts down as soon as they come to me, instead of trying to remember them for later, or sending them from my phone via email. As the Darwin quote above suggests, this may often result in a better way of framing something than if one had thought about it more deliberately, and it may also help one to keep thinking about a given idea intently enough to force a better understanding and simplification of that idea in one's own mind. 

And for those interested in a few details.... My favorite pants over the last couple of years have been the UB Tech Men's Travel Pant from Costco ($17.99). Given that I like to always carry a pair of headphones with me so that I can listen to the large library of audiobooks and podcasts on my phone when some spare time arises, the side pocket on the pants is perfect for carrying small headphones (Apple EarPods in my case). And that pocket is also perfect for storing a small notebook and pen. The notebook I'm currently experimenting with is the Field Notebook - 3.5"x5.5" (that's about the largest size that will fit in the pocket). And the pens I'm experimenting with are the Pentel Mini Ballpoint Pens. I wish the pens were a bit bigger, but still smaller than normal-sized pens, so I may look for alternatives in that regard.