Writing as Strategy

You’ve probably heard the phrase “writing is thinking” before. The idea is that as you put thoughts into words, the thoughts themselves start to change, and new thoughts emerge.

I’ve experienced the transformative power of putting words to paper, and it alone is a great reason to take the time to write. But there are also other, less well-publicized benefits to writing. Here are five use cases that I’ve found to be most useful and interesting.

Writing is managing
When I was early in my career, I’d get excited by almost any new idea that came my way. I’d read a blog post and send a message to my boss saying, “We’ve gotta do this!” Or I’d sit in on a phone call with a potential customer and feel the need to solve all of their specific problems, with little regard for the company’s overall strategy. Each time something like this happened, my boss would patiently remind me of the company’s goals and attempt to convince me that we should stick with the plan, rather than chase every shiny new object that caught my eye.

I soon realized that I was going to get excited about a lot of things, and there was no sense in trying to change this about myself. But I did have to admit that acting on that excitement by going to my boss with the idea was hurting my credibility. So I had to do something different. Writing as a form of self-management (and eventually as a form of managing others) is the best solution I’ve found so far.

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