Write, Write, and Then Write Some More
As the years add up, the ability to remember has diminished. I didn’t think I needed to writing anything down. For me, the ability to retain knowledge, recall facts of a conversation, or remember tidbits of trivia are quickly becoming memories themselves. I used to scoff at the argument that memory fades and items become harder to remember. Now maybe I am just a little bit wiser and realize that I am having to change my processes to get information the way I need it.
“If you have a thought but don’t write it down, by the next morning it may be gone forever - Richard Branson
One of those processes that I am slowly changing is how I capture information. I need to write it down. The greatest minds kept journals daily, a moleskine in their pocket, and a pencil at hand for just that key inspirational moment. I have read how reflecting over their writing gave the author comfort, peace, and clarity. But for the longest time, I must admit to a lazy attitude towards taking every thought captive.
Key ways writing will enhance your life
- Writing allows you to fill in the gaps. Think about any problem that you are facing today and write it down now. Notice as you are writing it on paper and actually visualizing the words, you think deeper and start seeing the voids, pitfalls, and affected surroundings of the problem that weren’t there before you started putting pen to paper.
- Writing helps you to remember. I recently did an exercise where I spent one week just reflecting on my day and writing done every little item. On the third day, I was already recalling so much more detail than I ever have before. After a month of doing this, I was able to review what I wrote down and capture key points of my accomplishments.
- Writing becomes a record. It is your history as you saw events. When it is in your mind, blurriness sets in. The fog of time hinders accurate recollection. This is really important for me in technology, where documenting slight business rules can save hours and even days of effort.
- Writing stimulates and innovates. Do one 5 minute brainstorming session around any question. Look at an object and write down all the characteristics you see about it. Take one verse from the bible and write down all the contextual truths that you see from those words themselves. You will surprise yourself with the ideas that could be life changing in a short time. Also how did you feel after that exercise? Did you stop thinking? I bet not.
- Writing allows for refinement. Write a first draft. Put it down for an hour, or walk away from it for a day. Come back and read what you wrote. Update the words, tweak the order of the sentences, refine the message. I wish I would have started with the discipline of getting thoughts on paper earlier instead of in my head. The quality increases as I review what I wrote. Not every thought or writing is a masterpiece, especially if it is just a first round effort.
If you are a parent, get your child started with writing a diary or keeping a journal. At work, don’t just write an email and send it, rather let the draft sit while you get coffee so you can review it again. Build discipline of writing out a problem and teasing out the nuances to be solved. Look at your writing as something that improves your productivity, soothes your soul, and shares your heart with others.
What are you waiting for? Start writing today.