From time to time I’ve struggled to explain what it is what I do for a living. It’s actually quite complicated because there’s never an accurate definition: writer, marketer, brand strategist… You go down the list. Until one day I decided to write it down. Since then, every time somebody asks me how would I define myself I have a clear idea of how to explain it simply. And it couldn’t be possible without writing it down.
The thing goes like this: you have an idea and you think you understand it, but when you have to explain it to somebody else you notice that you have no idea. Then you try to write it down. And that’s when you start to figure things out–when you see the words down on paper and start connecting the dots.
That’s when you realized how badly you understood the idea and how well you can explain it to a six-year-old kid now.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” — Albert Einstein
I’ve got the benefit of writing ideas down not just to define how I make my living, but also how to explain some concepts that I couldn’t explain easily otherwise.
And I think that’s the reason some people ask me a lot of marketing stuff. Because when I try to explain something to somebody I automatically remember a post I wrote or at least wrote some ideas down, so I can explain some concepts quite easily. And people clearly notice (and appreciate) that when you talk to them.
That’s the beauty of blogging. It allows you to gain clarity and the possibility of making an impact by being able to explain things easily.
If you don’t know how to explain something, just write about it.
Then, how’s the process of gaining clarity with your ideas?
1) Start by recognizing your thoughts.
Everybody has ideas, but not everybody is aware of them. Be ready and try to catch them. Oftentimes they come in form of a feeling, so don’t discard them just because you don’t find the words.
2) Try to put that idea into words.
They’re feelings, but when you write them down in words (preferably on paper), you’re able to see them, so you can start building from there. Once you put your thoughts into words in a paper, the whole thing changes. Now you’re able to see them and you can start tweaking those words until you can explain it simply.
3) Keep building until you get the core of the idea.
Ideas are usually weak at the beginning. That’s why is so important to not discard them easily without a prior analysis. And because they’re weak, you need to keep writing and thinking, until you come up with something of value. Sometimes it’s the same idea, sometimes it’s not. In any case, a weak idea always leads to a great one, so keep building until your get the clarity of the idea.
Sometimes we think we know the idea because in our head seems clear to us, but when it comes to write it down is a whole different story.
Once you do this process, you realize that now you understand the idea better than you thought.
And that helps you to catch up more ideas, and also it gives you the opportunity to make an impact with the people you interact with, because you’re able to communicate your ideas in a way that resonates with people.