Writing: Amazing Tool For Clearer Thinking and Learning

Person writing in a journal at window. You can see the hand with a pen in hand and the open journal.
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Hello everyone,

In this week's post, I am going to write a little bit about writing. How meta, right? The post got delayed by a day this week too, caused by a cold and an academic report that was due today. Perhaps I should just move the newsletter to Mondays, we will see.  

Introduction

Language is one of the distinct advantages humans have over other animals on Earth. It gives us the opportunity to communicate in detail and with nuance. This allows for extraordinary collaborations. The written language is an important evolution of that. Human progress throughout history is a product of collective knowledge collected and improved upon through generations. The progress we have collectively made can be referred to as the Human Colossus a concept Tim Urban introduced. Before writing was invented this information was only passed along between people talking and stored in people's memories. Writing has allowed for knowledge to be stored in an improved manner and we now have a way of having past generations communicate directly with us. You can now pick up Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and have a direct insight into what life as a Roman emperor was. That is freaking cool!
If you want to learn more about the Human Colossus I recommend reading this great blog post by Tim Urban

What Makes Writing Important

I believe reading and writing are two of the most important skills for any human. Reading allows you to collect information quickly and gives you the opportunity to learn about the human experience through history and take part in some of the most brilliant minds in human history. You can take advantage of the lessons and mistakes others have made. You can see how eerily similar some of the feelings of past generations were and how different life was at points in time. This serves in giving us both a better understanding of history and our present.

Writing allows us to take part in this great experience ourselves. We are able to communicate our thoughts and knowledge in text. This can be a transformative process. Writing forces you to evaluate your thoughts in a way that just thinking or daydreaming does not. I find the process of writing somewhat similar to having someone question your thoughts, only that in this case you are the one doing the questioning. It allows me to question my own thinking in a way that I believe has a positive impact on my overall thinking. Additionally, writing can serve as a megaphone for your ideas, it allows more people to see your thinking and quickly process it by reading it. Writing is also an important skill in most jobs as clear communication is exceptionally important. When composing emails you should be clear and concise so that people clearly understand what you mean.

I believe writing is an important practice to have. Many of us associate writing with school work or work assignments which generally consist of somewhat dry academic writing. Writing is so much more though. Writing is an extremely important part of what makes humans special, it is how we are able to communicate information quickly but also across generations. We gather knowledge for all of mankind to take part in. Our collective knowledge is one of man's greatest achievements.

For me, writing is also a great way to force myself to put my thoughts into words. Why do I want to do this? Well, there are several reasons, one is that I feel like if put down my thoughts on paper there is not as much bouncing around in my head, secondly I often feel that I struggle to remember how I felt or what I was thinking at a certain point and reading my writing from that time is a great way to be able to understand my own feelings and actions. Building on that point writing allows you to better get to know yourself. If you write a diary often it will be easier to spot a trend in your writing, maybe you are always talking about how you are dreaming about going on a trip to Japan or how you would like to run a marathon. It is easy to think of these things at the moment and just forget about them if you don't write them down.

My Writing Journey

I have always been drawn to reading and have often consumed newspapers, magazines, blogs, books, articles, and other forms of written media. My writing was mostly restricted to school work though. I have journaled at a few points throughout life, but not a massive amount, and especially not very consistently. I remember having a diary with a lock on it as a small child, which seems somewhat paranoid in hindsight. It also contributed to me fearing sharing my inner feelings in it for the fear of someone else finding it. As an adult, I have tried to change my thinking around this and try to dig deeper into my thoughts and feelings in my journal.

This time around when I started writing more I began by trying to write a journal more often. I can admit that I am not excellent at being consistent with it. Usually what happens is that I write 3-8 days in a row before something comes in between and I forget to do it for a while(currently on the 8th consecutive day though). Even with my lacking consistency, I feel that I have gotten an immense benefit out of this writing. I aim to write down one thing I am grateful for each day and then finish writing the page in my diary. The practice of writing down one thing I am grateful for helps me appreciate the life I am living. We all have things to be grateful for, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that. This grounds me and makes the problems and challenges I have to seem smaller. Even if you don't write this down I believe it is beneficial to meditate on gratitude every day.

My journaling is not extremely long. It does not take that many sentences to fill up the page probably on average I scrawl down 5-10 sentences before going to bed. That most nights is equal to 3-10 minutes of writing. This practice is what eventually lead me to start this blog again. I felt as if I was lacking a creative outlet in my life and believed writing could be a good one for me. I decided to write in public because I think it will help me sharpen my thoughts one step more, creating some accountability, and hopefully creating some value for you the reader.

Videos I Have Been Watching

With the World Cup happening in Qatar at the moment it has been impossible to miss all the stories of the corruption and terrible working conditions that lead us here. This has been talked about for a long time and it has widely been accepted that FIFA is an organization that will go where the money is. I had read some news stories about this but felt like I did not have a great picture of what had happened. Therefore I found it fascinating to watch Johnny Harris' two videos on the World Cup in Qatar. I know there is a Netflix series on the topic too which may I have heard good things about, but this is a great starter in the form of two 30 min videos.

This video details how Qatar got to host the World Cup in the first place
This video details what is happening inside Qatar

Final Takeaway

Try doing some writing and see if you like it. You don't need to start a blog or a newsletter. Just try to get yourself to put down some thoughts on paper. At first, it might feel a little silly, I know it did for me. I remember thinking how silly it was that I was writing in a diary the first few times I did it. Who was I talking to? No one was going to read this except for me. Was it really normal to have conversations with yourself? If I can do it I am sure you can too! Maybe the answer is not to write a diary for yourself but to write something for someone else. Write a letter or an email telling a friend why you care for them. Stretch those writing muscles and I will see you next week.