You have unique, interesting thoughts and ideas that pop into that head of yours...probably on a regular basis.
Maybe it was from a conversation you overheard, or a show you watched, or an experience you had.
From this, you muse upon an idea...but maybe you stop there.
I say: Take those thoughts, ideas, perspectives, or opinions and WRITE THEM DOWN.
See, writing presents an interesting, neuron-pumping activity that truly challenges your brain to translate your rather shapeless ideas into logical, syntax-conforming sentences.
It’s mental gymnastics when you have to take a fuzzy concept and transform it into writing that reads as if you were explaining your idea to another person.
That, my friend, definitely makes you smarter.
Yes, it’s hard to do.
If you’re not used to writing, it might be a big challenge.
But writing (again, even if you never publish it or share it anywhere) is a great activity with benefits that translate far beyond the page:
It changes your vocabulary, as you have to find the right words that match up to your ideas.
It changes the way you speak, as it forces you to work on sentence structure, composition, and general idea communication...which informs the way you sound off the page as well.
It helps you understand yourself better, as you get to see your ideas translate from a vague concept inside your head to words and phrases on a page. It forces you to externalize your inner monologue.
It strengthens your logos. In Rhetoric, logos = logic. As you write down your ideas, you’ll fine-tune how to logically present ideas as you sort through translating your thoughts into words. If you think of an invisible reader as you write, you’ll be driven to write convincingly with logic-driven structure--and again, you’ll challenge yourself to make sense of things, rather than leaving ideas as gray, ambiguous concepts inside your head.
All of those things sound pretty great, right? I mean, I want to communicate better, sound smarter, and think more logically--who wouldn’t?
So here’s my challenge for you:
I want you to set aside 15 minutes once a week to open up a notebook (or Google Doc) and write about an idea you have.
Pick something you’re really interested in or passionate about, and then explain why.
There are no grades.
No comment section for people to say, “Yeah, BUT…”
This is your mental exercise.
So give it a whirl. Try it out. Maybe even make it a weekly thing.
I think you’ll be surprised by all you get from it.
This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.