The power of writing

When writing, I feel that my mind is able to touch concepts that I would otherwise not even think about. Writing is a replacement for a mental scratchpad where I can capture information I am thinking about and think about new information while not forgetting about the words I thought about just moments before. This is a common complaint for many people who have ADD.

It may also be surprising to some that many people with ADD actually prefer writing over speaking. After all speaking is natural and innate, and writing is laborious process that must be taught and learned. So, if one were to read the DSM-IV characterization about attention disorders as his or her only source of information about ADD and ADHD, s/he will come to conclusion that there is no way that such folks who have trouble paying attention would prefer the careful crafting of writing over the loud and in-the-moment nature of speech. The kid with ADD prefers writing over talking? Preposterous!

Yet when I read the opinions written on the inattentive ADD forums, I notice a common pattern. Some people have said the exact reverse of the general conceptions about ADD;

It may be true that this could be seen as a less-than-unbiased observation because it is a written online message board, but I think this issue should be investigated more.

In general, the average student hates doing research papers and find them the epitome of boring. Even in college, many of my classmates openly voice about complaints about the seemingly arbitrary formatting standards. (Those students obviously never tried to write a computer program before). I never had any major complaints with such research projects however, and I actually enjoy them. Really, students just have to see research for what it really is, just a bunch of scholarly people bickering with each other. For instance, Steven Pinker is inspired by Noam Chomsky and then argues with him on paper and talks about how he is wrong. (I use Steven Pinker as an example because he does have a sense of humor and I know he won’t get mad if I said this about him.) When I wrote the opening argument for A Different Drum, it is my attempt to join in on the bickering, especially in regards to the “controversy” surrounding SCT.

The researchers are really engaging in a sort of conversation, but it’s just a long, drawn out conversation. No statements are made in isolation. Each paper is a response to a previous paper’s question or findings. If you study a topic long enough, like ADHD for instance, you can see how all the references are connected in a sort of “academic social network”.