Thinking Pictures

I spend a lot of time thinking and I assume everyone else does too because I’m not sure how I would go about quieting my busy mind. Very often I’m not thinking about what I should be and instead let my mind wonder as I go about the more monotonous chores of everyday life. This habit can be helpful as it means even when I am working I can still be considering the finer points of my writing or allowing the thought process after reading another persons writing to settle.

I briefly touched on the suggestion of ideas that you can’t verbalise in my blog post Fun with Synonyms but since writing that I have been considering the difficulty of verbalising everything that goes on in your mind. The only real conclusion that I have come to is that I have a real tendency to think in pictures. At this point I attempted to continue to write this post without doing any research whatsoever. It did not work as I found myself talking round in circles and not really saying much. So I have been doing some real work (pat on the back for me).

I have discovered that there are three different ways of thinking. Visual/Spatial thinkers only really think in pictures and they make up about 30% of the population (Some are called super-visual thinkers and simple pieces of information can conjure up vivid images in their mind’s eye). People who think exclusively in the form of words make up 25% of thinkers (There are even people who cannot imagine a picture/scene, it’s called Aphantasia). And the remaining 45% alternate between the two types of thinking. After thinking about what these ways of thinking would mean for some time and realising I couldn’t imagine only thinking in pictures because creating a well rounded argument would be pretty hard and only thinking in words would imagining what is being described almost impossible; I decided I’m in that majority 45% of ambithinkers (that’s not a real word, it just seemed like a good way of describing it).

My research got a whole lot more confusing when linguistic experts started suggesting we were only capable of thought because of language, wouldn’t that mean picture thinkers can’t think? And how do we think before we learn a language at a young age? Then I started getting into split brain research, which I have read about before and while it interests me, I may have gone too deep into that rabbit hole of information so that’s where I called it quits as far as it’s important for this post.

But now that I have made myself aware of these differing thinking patterns surely I have made myself aware of further difficulties with properly writing a picture. So far I have written for the like minded thinker, the 45% that think in words and pictures. The 45% that can read the carefully chosen synonyms and into their mind pops a visualisation of what I had been thinking. I still have a lot of questions unanswered as to how I can best create a picture in words for everyone. But for now it’s left me considering the possibility of illustration. Sadly I would call myself a mediocre artist, I am not a good portrait artist, my landscapes and still life are alright I suppose and I do at least have enough talent to go beyond stick drawings. Mediocrity doesn’t really sit well with me though so I am not willing to attach my own art to my written work. So if any of you are or know an artist who would be interested in science fiction artwork please contact me. It’d be a hobby as I make no money from my writing currently but creating worlds is a lot of fun and I’m really not planning on turning it into a picture book so it wouldn’t be too many illustrations.

Anyways as ever leave a comment or contact me directly




One thought on “Thinking Pictures

  1. Pingback: Making Faces – 25,000 Light-years

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