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« Family of origin issues ideal for story starters | Main | Hey, how are those writing goals coming along? »

Writing improves thinking


Yesterday, a friend told me she felt especially sad. On the same day she'd sent her late mother's things to auction, her son wrote a poignant blog post about leaving the United States for the mission field in India, forwarding what he'd written.


The post was moving, encapsulating both the excitement of embarking on a journey to a foreign country and a healthy fear of the unknown as well as a sadness at leaving the only life he's known. Here's an excerpt:

Our tickets are bought. November 18. That's the day we uproot our little family, board a plane, and skip across the globe to plant ourselves in South Asia. The date stares at me from the calendar on my desk.


I had breakfast with my brother Joe the other day. I'd always thought moving overseas would be one big, dramatic airport-hugs-and-kisses goodbye. But it's really a thousand goodbyes that creep into everyday moments like bagels and coffee with a brother and make them heavy with solemnity.

My friend's son and his wife have been blogging for years now about raising children and following their call. As a result, he writes clearly. He's able to take what's in his head and heart and put it on paper with clarity, with precision, with style.


No process is better for clarifying thinking than writing. It forces you to confront what you think and feel about things. If you can't express your thoughts in your writing, then you haven't spent enough time alone with them, distilling them. If you want to move people with your thinking, then practice extracting it from your head and putting it into words.

In my experience, if you want to think better, write. Then write better. Plying each skill improves the other, in turn.

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Reader Comments (2)

HA! This is the class I'm teaching the end of this month. I just ordered the text. We'll have to discuss on our way to Tamaqua!

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyrenne

Thanks for stopping by, Ally. Where are you teaching your class?

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGale Martin

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