to grow and cook a message

“Meaning is not what you start out with but what you end up with. Control, coherence, and knowing your mind are not what you start out with but what you end up with. Think of writing, then, not as a way to transmit a message but as a way to grow and cook a message. Writing is a way to end up thinking something you couldn’t have started out thinking. Writing is in fact a transaction with words whereby you free yourself from what you presently think, feel, and perceive. You make available to yourself something better than what you’d be stuck with if you’d actually succeeded in making your meaning clear from the start.”

Peter Elbow, Writing Without Teachers. I realize this is another version of Forster’s famous “how do I know what I think till I see what I say,” but I needed it today nonetheless.