Write. Everything. (For Yourself).

A while back, I was between jobs, and as you might guess, I had to go through quite a few interviews. During these weeks, I kept running potential interview questions and answers in my head, the things I wanted to highlight (and the ones I tried to avoid mentioning), and, no less importantly, what I wanted to know about the company or team I was going to join if everything went well.

The problem with all this preparation was that it was not coherent and, at times, inconsistent. As is often the case, I kept revisiting the same issues over and over again, but instead of making me feel more confident, I got more confused. The reason was not that I changed my mind but that with every new nuance I wanted to capture, I struggled with fitting it into the proper context and place. Things I thought were great to mention a few days earlier suddenly seemed redundant or irrelevant. I knew whatever I would say must be better than the semi-random thoughts running in my head. 

 So I decided to take some time and write. 

What did I write? All these bits of information and ideas I’ve been thinking of. I captured them as they appeared in my mind, but now they were in front of me and not just inside my head. 

Did I memorize what I had written? Absolutely not. Did I end up using what I had captured in real-time? Not at all. Did the interview go as I had imagined it? Not even close. Was I confident and fluent? Yep. 

So, how did this magic happen? What made the difference? The answer lies in reframing the essence of the writing activity. We typically think of writing as an act of recording to capture our thoughts accurately. In other contexts, writing is used for sharing information and ideas. But writing has more to it than that. Writing is a thinking tool.

When thoughts, ideas, and bits of information run through our heads, we cannot control them. We don’t control their order, where they drift, or if we make some logical leap without explaining how we arrive from point A to point B. Our thoughts are not well-organized, and they are not static. This could be great for part of the thinking process, but ultimately, these volatile and associative bits don’t serve us well. 

When I capture my thoughts in writing, they are also disorganized… at first. When I see them on the page in front of me, I can play with them, change the order of different bits, and evaluate whether something is missing, redundant, or unclear. It’s like refining and creating a better version of my “draft” thoughts. 

This is an obvious step when communicating in a text-based medium, but it is as helpful when preparing for a face-to-face meeting. I don’t try to create and memorize a script of the meeting (or my part in it). I’m merely trying to create a better version of my perspective, ideas, and what is essential for me to convey. 

The magical part is that even if the conversation evolves in a different direction, I am still better prepared. I know the subject better than if I had just been running things through my head. I articulate my views better even when asked about things I didn’t capture in writing. As a result, the conversation flows more naturally, enabling my partner and me to connect better. 

Writing is an extension of thinking. Write when you need to process things, especially before communicating with others. Remember that you write first and foremost for yourself. Sometimes, you will want to share what you wrote with your conversation partner, but more often, you write to create a better, more coherent version of your thoughts.

share this page and help us inspire more people to communicate better

Scroll to Top