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Authorship is has similarities to building a house: You may start out with notions of what the end product should be but as you put your thoughts down on paper you discover a evolving stream of issues you need to resolve which only become apartment after it’s down on paper. You may want to design a restaurant with a view but where should the kitchen go? If you put it in one location you loose some of the view but in the other location it may be too far away from deliveries. The door can open this way or the other way, all of the options having implications for restaurant layout. And so on.

When authoring a document you will similarly come up with logic issues or simply word-use and issues of rhythm. Should you use the same word in two sentences to achieve a specific effect or should you use a thesaurus to come up with another word which may not be as correct but will look more impressive? And so on.

In the same way we have invested heavily in architectural software tools to enable us to build modern buildings with huge expanses of glass, advanced thermal properties and intricate layouts–which could never have been built with pencil and paper–we should aspire to build high performance, high precision tools for our minds.

A building is called a building which is poetic since the name of the final product is the same as the name of the process to build it; a building is built. It does not appear out of nowhere. However a document only ‘documents’, the name does not connote an active process, only a static result. That is a shame.

Published inThoughtsWhy?

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