On writing versus watching
Thanks to the King
But TV came relatively late to the King household, and I’m glad. I am, when you stop to think of it, a member of a fairly select group of; the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bullshit. This might not be important. On the other hand, if you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far.
Just an idea.
- Stephen King, On Writing
Minus what many people including me unfortunately consume today (on say Youtube shorts, TikTok, etc.), watching television or video content in general has its merits. There are some really great films, documentaries and comedy specials exist, and so on.
So what makes consuming our information via reading different from consuming information via watching, really?
I think that one answer might lie in the fact that when we read, we generally follow one voice. We pay attention to the sequence in which thoughts are expressed, the succinctness of an idea, and other such things. We notice when the author is being long-winded, when our patience is tested.
We are forced to be imaginative when there is good description involved, when the descriptions tells us enough about the scene, but not too much, hence forcing us to fill in the missing gaps ourselves.
So a good deal of the time, I think that people engage more actively while reading than while watching.
In turn, when we think, we think more vividly and clearly. We think more vividly because our imagination has had more practice. We think more clearly because we are no strangers to ideas expressed in sequential, logical, and (hopefully) succinct ways. And obviously, thinking better has benefits.
P.S. I’m aware that this post is not about crypto or economics—deviating from what this blog is usually about. However, I was quite inspired by Chris Dixon’s post on blogging and want to try to express new hypotheses (they might not be new to other people but there are new to me) more frequently moving forward, even when they fall outside boundaries. Feedback is always welcome.
You can find me on Twitter @ramwithouthorns.
Video has a lot of visual cues, that could both assist and distract us. Another aspect to consider is the personal learning preference - visual or otherwise.
With early exposure to mobiles, perhaps more recent generations have not developed enough reading skills.