I saw two tweets last week that I can’t stop thinking about. First, this one that got everyone on Twitter talking about the way they process thoughts.
I think I’m the second type. I *can* think in sentences, if I try, but it’s always a conscious effort. I have to imagine myself having a conversation, or I do something I call “writing in my head”, which is a very deliberate search for the words for something. I now understand that some people don’t have to make that effort at all, but that sentences pop up in their head all the time. I’m a bit jealous. It would save me so much time if I didn’t have to do the thinking and the word-finding separately!
It also explains why I have such a hard time with “morning pages” or other stream-of-consciousness writing exercises. And it explains why in writers’ groups some people just can’t wrap their head around the concept of outlines, while I absolutely need an outline so that I can later find the right words for the framework of ideas.
But here’s the thing. I think this way of thinking, with abstract thoughts that whirl around faster than you can find words for them, is also related to this other tweet I can’t stop thinking about.
Now, let me first explain that when I say I “can’t stop thinking about” these two tweets I have barely any recollection of the actual words in the tweets. I was able to find them again by remembering the username of one person and two words from the other tweet, which I combined with some guesses until Twitter search brought me to the right place. When I thought about these tweets I just had flashes of vague ideas. I would remember how people reacted in surprise when they found out that they didn’t think in the same way as other people. I imagined how this would have changed the way they thought about…