Why you should get better at writing
You should get better at writing. Even if doing it well is difficult, the benefits you’ll get will far outweigh the challenges you’ll encounter. Writing is a superpower…
The act writing sure seems simple, but doing it well isn’t easy; it’s hard and it requires effort. Yes! Effort… the dreaded word so many fear.
It’s one thing to create material, but it’s another thing to structure it and make the subject interesting for more than a few sentences and especially pages.
Writing is About Thought Structure and Expressing Yourself
Writing is the most powerful way to express ourselves. Writing sticks and stays and is even eternal for some. Most don’t even realize it, but writing is necessary as most of us read hours every day.
We seem to have the idea that writing is for others. But similar to musicians playing somebody else’s music, it becomes much more powerful when you actually start composing your own music and sharing it.
Writing is Powerful as it
helps you put your thoughts together - writing pushes you into structure.
enables you to think and research - you just get more out of it.
makes you better understand the subject - you go deeper.
gives you control over your thoughts - more control, less reaction.
slows you down in a good way and time to reflect - you’ll think better.
Let’s go through the list, as these are all potent concepts.
1 – Writing helps you put your thoughts together
I remember working with a client on a very sensitive and complex project. After sending him the results, his remarks were a life-changing experience.
A bit of background. I created a document and presentation and sent them via email. After reading it, he got upset. He said something like, “Why would I pay for the time spent on all of these? All I needed was in the email!”.
I wasn’t getting his negative vibe at first… The docs weren’t that long, and it was just a few days of work to create them.
After talking, I quickly understood. He perceived the documents as a “waste” and the email was all that he needed. Based on this, our conversation changed his perspective, and here’s why.
For me to be able to write a summarized email was based on the presentation made. In turn, the presentation was an abbreviated version of the document first wrote. And that document was created following meetings, research and notes taken in the past month.
When you have a ton of notes and research documents, the ultimate way of cleaning all of this up is to write.
Whether it’s a few paragraphs or pages, writing is the best course of action to put your thoughts together - in a structured way.
Then, it becomes much easier to create presentations, emails, speeches and so on. You now have in hand the key elements you’ve extracted.
This is why I consider writing an essential tool — The process of writing forces you to structure your thoughts, your findings and ultimately focus on what you want to communicate.
Writing is a Thought Funnel
In sales we hear a lot about sales funnels. Well, writing is a similar process—it’s really a thought funnel. As sales funnels starts with a large number of prospects, then concentrate on a few potential clients to finally closing the sales. Writing does exactly the same thing, but instead of prospects and sales, you start with ideas then to finally create a structured document.
2 – Writing enables you to think and research
When you write something, it better make sense and for longer work, it should be minimally based on verifiable information and sources.
Writing will force you to think about ideas, words, concepts, structure and in time you’ll need to research. It’s crazy when you actually start writing how we find ourselves looking for more and better information.
I’ve gone back to some clients and read things I made more than 10 years ago.
That’s also why you should think before you write and infirm or confirm your thoughts with additional material and sources. Writing sticks and sometimes for years, decades and even centuries for some.
I’m not saying to stay on a document for weeks or months for it to be perfect… but do take the necessary time and level of involvement the subject requires - research and confirm.
When you work on a document, take some time and reflect on where is the information coming from, how it’s being presented, have a good flow and make sure it’s structured in such a way that you’re basically presenting a story. A beginning, development section and a conclusion.
Show your audience you really did think about the subject and the best structure to show it. Challenge Yourself.
Before sending an email, or putting together a document, ask yourself the following questions:
What message am I sending?
What information am I using to support my message?
What is the best structure to get my point across?
Simple questions, but if you take just a bit of time for these before and after, you’ll get better at it and people will notice.
3 – Writing makes better understand the subject
A famous mathematician, Richard Feynman, once said, “If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it.” And you know what, he’s right!
I’m a big fan of Feynman and one of his most noticeable gifts are Feynman diagrams. He found an easy way to visually present very complex mathematical expressions using pictorial representations of subatomic particles behaviors.
“If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it." - Richard Feynman.
In a book, Feynman described he was only able to come up with diagrams after thinking and writing hundreds, even thousands of thoughts, mathematical calculations and notes. Writing is like going on a trip, as you’ll only get to your destination if you’re able to find your way first.
The more we write, the better we get. At the same time, the more you read and research, the more you’ll understand the subject. Boom.
So write, read and challenge what you’ve put down and you’ll be surprised at the results. It will upgrade your conversations, your knowledge and structure — As I love to say, “it’s all good!”
4 – Writing enables you to truly control your thoughts
Let me give you a choice. Imagine you have something important or very sensitive to say to someone…
A — Go and talk directly to them on the subject.
B — Write to this person about this situation.
What’s your decision?
If you said talk… I think you should sometimes reconsider. When we talk about sensitive subjects we can easily get emotional, frustrated and eventually lost in our thoughts. In turn, it usually translates into poor or problematic communications.
That’s why powerful people such as CEO’s, entrepreneurs and politicians have people to write messages, documents, speeches and allocutions. The potential impacts of what they say can be insurmountable in many instances.
You Should Write More
Either to centralize your notes or simply to structure your thoughts, writing gives you the most options to correctly communicate. You get to choose every word you want, sentence and the order in which they are presented.
Writing Isn’t Perfection but its Close
People’s perception will always be present and writing does require effort. But it will give you more options and enable you to put down what you what and minimize negative conceptions, perceptions, unnecessary emotions and body language that could affect your end delivery.
5 - Writing slows you down in a good way and time to reflect
Have you ever written down what you felt about a situation and just delete the text or email after? If not, I highly recommend doing it.
You’ll find the power of writing exhilarating as you can lay it down and have no impact in the end. Bottom line you feel better, you’ll have taken the time to vent and that feels great.
Have you ever written down something and delete it right after? Do it, it feels great.
Well, that’s only one of the superpowers of writing. It enables you to have more control over your thoughts, the situation and gives you the capacity to put it down the way you want to. So much so, that if you find you still want to send the information, the structure, the message, the words will all be at their best.
When I say writing slows you down, I don’t mean it makes you slow. What I mean is that writing gives you time to construct your thoughts and reflect on what’s being created.
When we see our words and sentences, it seems it gives us a better ability to find misconceptions, unnecessary judgments and plain mistakes. Writing is cleansing. It clears your mind, removes the clutter and forces you to focus.
This is Why we Have Business Plans
That’s why most investors will force an entrepreneur to make a business plan. It’s not about having the document per se… It’s about finding out if you really believe enough in your idea as to put it down on a page and actually find information, numbers and figures to confirm you plan makes sense.
Before I End this Post
My girlfriend sent me a great reference about blogging and writing. I highly recommend you go through it, it gave me great insights.