Writing as Dot-Connecting
Connecting the dots is equally (or even more) important than merely collecting them.
Writing is a form of connecting those collected dots.
Writing forces the writers to pour out their thoughts and arrange them in coherent and logical manner *if* said writer has a non-fiction piece in mind (when it comes to fiction, the dot-connecting is still there, but the coherent and logical arrangement can be played with, or, often, be disposed altogether should the writers feel the dictation of their whims too strong to resist and think they got enough gall and guts to risk perplexing, and might very well be vexing, the readers upon perusal of their work).
Focus matters most in writing.
I want to write about how convenient the life of Dalai Lama and the Pope and Ayatollah and pretty much any other religious big shots is because they are closely surrounded by a bunch of loyal guards and worshippers and supporters daily, and I wonder how they would carry on through existence if a thermonuclear apocalypse happened and any one of them are left with a cutthroat pansexual rapist and a nihilistic cynical hooker as the only fellow survivors on an arid wasteland of the dying planet in the aftermath.
But then in the middle of my conjuring an extreme-yet-plausible scenario where all their close ones and confidants up to the consigliere are wiped out in the cataclysm leaving only their Excellency behind, my thought suddenly leaped without warning to gravure idols and stale milk in the fridge and then to some hazy backstory of a character for my yet-to-be-made fanfiction and, ultimately, all those thoughts frantically interlapped in jumbled fashion, establishing a pandemonium of sound and fucking fury in my head — racing thoughts never felt so real an experience.
And then there is the case of filtering out stuffs from the Web; intellectually stimulating (and sometimes emotionally engaging) forum posts, posts from imageboards, posts from news aggregators, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, features and opinion pieces on some news sites, answers from question aggregators, free MOOCs, and so on. Those are the dots. Bookmarking them is fun. Trying to summarize them, to distill them in a piece of writing, on the other hand, is absolutely boring.
To be fair, starting to write from the resources I have gathered so far is the hardest part. Once I let all the thoughts flow with minimum judgments, however, I have been writing five-and-a-half paragraphs about my own writing process already. And it’s liberating. I feel like I let out what must come out of my mind lest I implode or, less dramatically, deeply regret not ever jotting them down to be preserved in dead tree or its digital counterpart. Of course, editing and revising is essential if I want all the points in my writing to be more clear and audience-friendly, but that’s another story for another day.
In hindsight, whatever is written can be a pain to look at — thanks to its style and/or its substance. And yet it can evoke some significant amount of joy, some sense of accomplishment for conveying the previously-bottled thoughts and feelings that, if imperfect and may be derived from other sources, is in the end yours to create.
In writing, as in sadomasochism, pain and joy are produced, and, in most cases, they are not mutually exclusive.