Writing has helped me to become a better thinker, speaker, and leader.
“Teaching is about taking things apart; writing is about putting things together.” – Toni Morrison
Back in January 2019, I took a sabbatical from publishing work online. One reason for the break was to reflect on how I could improve in certain areas of my writing and identify how I could produce an effective standard of work.
Understanding that in order for my work to grow, I have to first grow myself.
Questions are really answers
I started to test a few ideas of my own, not concerned about the outcome. I was reasoning with myself about why I should continue investing time in certain ideas and what I needed to do to create better value for others through my work.
As a result of curating, filtering and refining along the process; my approach focused on assets already at my disposal and establishing an underlying unifying structure.
My unifying structure
Given that I am involved a lot with project management, it is easy to overestimate the importance of being a planner and underestimate the value of being a writer in the process.
Often, I yield into thinking that the basis of my work is a solid piece of research, a project plan and a good set of practices. When in actual fact everything is settled in writing – right from the research, planning, execution up to the case study.
In my commitment to producing effective work and putting a mark in my little corner of the universe, writing has proven to carry my work and ideas further than just about anything else I am involved in.
Prior to writing this article, I was reminded that it is important to contribute something to the well I drink from than it is to protect myself from criticism, hence I decided to share on the big difference writing makes and how it is the unifying structure to my world.
The need to share
“How many die with their best work still inside them?”
I firmly believe that anything worthwhile starts with writing. Writing is a tool that delivers value to others. Like entrepreneurs, writers create value where it did not exist.
When value is created, the need to share is justified. This is because every one of us has a unique set of skills, circumstances, experiences and ideas that if we don’t put out there no one will. If we don’t deliver them to the world it will never be, and it will never exist in any other way.
“The world is a better place because we choose to create things”
I share my writing as a way of learning and a reminder to myself. It is said that teaching is learning twice. So, I expanded on this ideal. I broke it down into a three-part process, where I study, act on what I’ve studied, then share my experience in writing.
For me, this is a show of a leader I aim to be. Taking a stand for the things I believe in, sharing my mission, and rallying the people who believe the same things I believe.
Equally important, I am mindful that it isn’t just the writer who shows up to tell the story most often who succeeds. It is the writer who has the patience and willingness to understand that the story they tell must serve the people they want to inspire. Because an ideal audience isn’t just one that’s available—it is one that’s receptive to your writing and this is a valuable lesson to me.
Writing teaches a lot about confidence, a quality every leader requires to be effective. From learning how to write your first paragraph to confidently publishing ideas that people might not even read.
To be a successful leader is to be a writer. When you don’t write, there’s often a lack in clarity of thought in your messaging.
Even so, when you improve your writing, you improve your ability to think. Critical thinking leads to good writing, which leads to clearer thinking – these two concepts are well intertwined.
“Writing improves the ability to think”
I work a lot to improve my writing because I’m not a very good orator. Sometimes I pause when I lose my train of thought. But I don’t wish I were a better speaker like I wish I were a better writer. What I want is to have good ideas, and that’s a much bigger part of being a good writer or leader than being a good speaker.
“Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.” – Maya Angelou
Writing often makes me aware of our access to opportunity. We can decide who we want to be by just writing. A unique aspect being the ability to associate ourselves with words on a page.
Today, my writing transcends a lot into my lifestyle. I’ve learned to become minimalistic. I pursue to keep a moderate number of things, from maintaining an organised desk to learning how to use a moderate number of words to express my ideas. By so doing, I’ve learned to write to express, more than I have the need to impress.
Hence today I identify myself as a practitioner who writes about marketing, project management, the art and science of business and creativity. Science because I am concerned about the functionality of these disciplines. Art because I want to figure out how to apply these disciplines effectively.
What big difference has writing done for you?