December 1, 2021•608 words
Reading time: 3.5 min
That piece primarily details the limits of working memory, and writing (publicly) as a way to overcome this and produce better thinking.
"It forces you to research intensively about the subject and to also explain it coherently, but it also exposes you to the feedback people might give to you, allowing you to see your possible mistakes, to get better at the subject, and to improve your technical writing skills."
I entirely agree with the notion of public writing forcing you to do extensive research on the topic and exposes it to feedback.
In preparation for some of my longer, essay-type pieces, I researched extensively to ensure that I have a reasonably good grasp of what I am talking about, if there is supporting evidence, and what potential flaws there are in the evidence. Examples include:
The power of free and detriment of loss aversion, where I carefully researched the topic and looked through the study I detailed.
Role of QR Codes Entailing Genetic Tests and Medical Records, where I looked into the role of DNA in modern medicine to consolidate my existing knowledge and find more specific examples.
Do non-iron clothing cause cancer?, where to stick to medical ethics and the idea of 'do no harm', I made sure to extensively research the chemical, professional recommendations, and existing studies into how the chemical affects humans.
Human Longevity, where to support my existing knowledge, I researched potential evidence that contradicts the original post I was responding to.
The common pattern between these posts is that I am making a claim, and attempting to support it with convincing evidence and non-one-off real life examples, rather than purely sharing my own thoughts and experience.
Another common thing is that these can be relatively complicated topics, and as such require a long time to write to ensure coherence, and ensure the reader understands the point the author is trying to make, and prevent misinterpretation.
My main motivation in doing so much preparation is to avoid writing misinformative garbage when discussing what I consider to be serious topics.* I hope to catch possible mistakes in my points before it becomes public, such that it can bring value to readers and further feedback would genuinely improve the thinking and writing.
As such, writing publicly indeed seems to have the benefit of forcing one to properly research the topic and be coherent, at least on serious topics. I naturally did these things when writing the above pieces. I reckon this is an excellent way of producing better work.
Also, I just realised the relevance of this comment to my prior post (The power of free and detriment of loss aversion, see above):
"Life is a constant battle between you and bad luck. We are supposed to make sacrifices to increase the probability that good things happen. But this is difficult, you not only have to deal with difficult situations but also with a lot of distractions that might seduce you to avoid what you have to do."
Indeed. We have to put in our time, effort, and other resources and hope our endeavor results in a success, with the risk of losing it all in failure. One reason this is difficult is our loss aversion.
*I wonder how that applies when it comes to modern journalism. Does writing publicly incentivise well-researched writing and accountability in that environment? If not, why the difference?