Do You Think in Pictures or Words?

I wrote something similar about this once on my old blog (here’s the link if you’re interested–even pulled some of the text for this post). Was browsing around the Writer’s of the Future forums and saw the “do you think in pictures or words?” discussion come up there. I thought it would be a fun topic to visit on the blog today.

Well, what about you? Do you think in pictures or words most of the time, and what does that mean? I think it surprised me the first time I really considered that some people process their thoughts as strings of words and letters like reading the pages of a book rather than watching a full multimedia movie.

I often think in sound-words–my voice talking, or imagining other people talking–and pictures together. I don’t like it too quiet in my head. Most of the time, the scenes and scenarios I imagine include some kind of verbal-like narration of thoughts or descriptions or emotions. I also like hearing my characters’ voices in my head when I’m writing their experiences or dialogue as opposed to just seeing a picture or seeing words in my mind. I actually get writer’s block when I can’t “hear” my characters speaking. Also, I believe I focus better on texts that I’m reading when I imagine reading or hearing them aloud (although I’ve heard you can read faster if you train yourself to turn off your head-voice while scanning the page).

When I’ve been writing a lot or thinking about editing a difficult part of a story, that’s when I start to think in type-words. I don’t really see much of type-words in my thoughts until I start thinking about them a lot technically.

So…yeah. What about you? Pictures or words? Your thoughts?

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2 Responses to Do You Think in Pictures or Words?

  • noreply@blogger.com'
    Nae says:

    I think in pictures and emotions. Colors and feelings. When I am writing a scene with my characters I usually get to watch it going through my head. That can be exciting, especially when I’m discovering a scene for the first time.

  • noreply@blogger.com'
    Sarah Seeley says:

    You’re a picture thinker! I love it. I think it’s so interesting how we all process thoughts and scenes for stories in similar but at the same time unique ways. Thanks for reading, Janae, and for sharing your thought process! Also, I always love it when you stop by my blog. :-)

Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.
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