New year, new resolutions. Or older resolutions re-vamped and re-energized to make sure we follow them. Whatever the case is, one thing I’ve promised myself to do this 2011 is to write more: more often but also (and equally if not more important) more in terms of length of writings. Why and what it has to do with collaboration and technology? Keep on reading.
It is often said that we will be the same next year except for the books we read and the people we meet. Very true. The former allows us to learn, to discover, to increase our “database”, to become more knowledgeable about something. The second activity is a fundamental part of not only collaborating but also of growing ourselves and it deserves a dedicated article some other time.
But once reading is done, and before meeting others, I believe there is something that increases even more our personal value: writing.
Right from the very first moment we want to write something, it’s because we consider we have something interesting. Something to put on paper (or e-paper nowadays) so that we keep it in a way; so that we take it out of our heads, which we consider volatile, to a more solid platform; so that we can, given the interest, share it with others; so that we will, and this is the important bit, think about it, structure it, give it a shape and elaborate on it. This is where the true value of writing resides. The exercise of putting a thought in the form of words and phrases requires us to think. And with that comes a ton of good consequences: we go to the bottom of our topic or idea as we need to explain it to others, we realize of some aspects we didn’t think at first, we analyze the matter from different angles and, maybe, we discover that what we thought about makes no sense at all and that we’d better go back to reading. Even in this last case, we have exercised our brain for good. It’s a beautiful process and really the main reason why I decided to write. It feels awesome to perceive your brain working, connecting, running. Sometimes you just wish you could type at the same speed as you’re processing thoughts. It is after creating something yourself that you can then add value to others.
All the above sounds very good but there are some conditions that need to be present for the process to happen completely. First, as with every activity, you become better by practicing. That means doing it regularly. Second, and here is again a similarity to physical exercise, it needs to last enough every time you do it so you get the benefits. Writing something quickly doesn’t activate your brain. It actually releases it from that idea/thought (that’s why we write down to-dos and shopping lists no?). If you want to extract the juice out of that idea, you need to dedicate some time to elaborate on it. Otherwise it becomes simply a status update, a comment, a line that won’t be likely to spark anything in others as it did in you. This is occurring today in the internet and is one of the reasons some people hate micro-blogging services like Twitter. It’s just too simple to post something and because of brevity, much of the content is noise, or information you can live without.
As a final example, while writing this small piece, a handful of ideas came to my mind related to this topic. Most of them are questions, but I’m sure tackling them one by one will not only help me produce answers, but also further questions to keep me thinking. And that’s how we progress no?