Improve your thinking by writing

Charlie Jackson
Nov 2, 2018 · 2 min read

TL;DR

  • Write to improve your thinking
  • Writing reinforces the ideas in your head
  • It helps you realise what’s actually important when communicating
  • It will point out gaps in your understanding
  • Get feedback on your writing to further improve your learning

Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking

When I first heard this I started thinking about the way I communicate ideas, and how I struggle to explain new concepts in a clear way. It always seems so obvious to me, but it was frustrating to see people fail to grasp these “amazing” ideas I was getting so excited about.

This quote helped me see the problem: I had trouble explaining the ideas I researched because my thinking was still muddled and all over the place. I didn’t have practice trying to describe these ideas to people in a simple way. I was often trying to explain things I had just read and hadn’t thought through yet.

This is why I started writing. Not for self promotion, not to spread the ideas, not to look good on a CV. I’m writing to improve the way I think about, and explain, ideas. Maybe you should as well.

How writing has improved my thinking

Going though an idea again helps learning

Writing forces you to go through the ideas over and over. Reinforcing the concepts in your head. You try to organise your thoughts logically in text and become more familiar and confident in what you are saying. It also helps you remember the ideas, which is great for someone like me, who normally relies on a phone to do the remembering.

Rewriting makes you focus on the essentials

Some core principles in good writing include; cutting down, rewriting and simplifying your work. When you do this, and do it brutally, you need to really figure out what the most important parts of the ideas are. And the simplest way of explaining them.

You’ll find the holes in your explanations

  • When explaining ideas, each sentence needs to lead on from the previous and make logical sense.
  • Statements should have justifications.

After reading the first draft and you’re looking for the flow of logic, you will soon realise where all the gaps and confusions are. By rewriting again and again, the flow and clarity of your explanation will improve massively.

Get feedback

To find out how effective your writing (and thinking) is, ask for feedback from someone who has read your work. Get them to sum up the main points, and tell you what didn’t make sense. We all absorb ideas in distinctive ways. To better communicate you need to understand how different people process what you are saying.

To sum up

Keep writing and rewriting about the ideas you want to understand better. Get feedback and don’t do it for anyone except yourself.

Footnote

I’m writing to improve the way I think about and communicate ideas. Please give me some feedback on this post at contact@charliejackson.com. And join my email newsletter here to keep up to date.

Lessons by Charlie Jackson

Thing’s I’ve learned along the way

Charlie Jackson

Written by

Freelance JavaScript Developer. Sometimes write about self development, tech and startup stuff.

Lessons by Charlie Jackson

Thing’s I’ve learned along the way

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