Explain it to Yourself First

Writing isn’t just valuable for the reader. It is equally as valuable for the writer.

I have been writing a blog off and on for 6 years. Mostly to try to share the things I don’t feel I speak clearly about. At first, I thought the main point was to share my knowledge with others and get feedback. Indeed, that is one of the reasons to write a blog and one does have to think about the reader when writing. However, as I write more and more, it is starting to translate to the way I speak and feel more and more. It's becoming something where I get more out of it than anyone.

What I mean is this. I am starting to see that I often speak sentences to others that I have not gone through the work of explaining to myself first. Last night, my partner asked me a question and I gave her an answer that was a summation rather than a clear explanation. The problem was that I had not even made the clear explanation to myself, so I definitely could not make it clear to her. I noticed the lack and stopped the conversation to take the time to explain the answer to myself out loud, while she listened.

The end result was that I understood myself clearly, as did she and neither of us had any questions about the subject at hand (I can’t remember what we talked about, but I can remember the process clearly.)

As this happened, my brain made a leap. This is exactly why I write. To get better at writing. One of the deep joys of communicating is learning how to go deeper and be more complete without rambling. To speak and see the hearer and perceive how well they receive and adjust the communication to improve the reception.

What is interesting here is that we are really doing this for ourselves. This is how we can see and understand ourselves more fully. In other words, when we take the time to do the work of explaining ourselves fully to ourselves, the chance for others to hear and understand us goes up exponentially.

I know this post is really meta, writing about writing, communicating about communicating, but isn’t that the core function of economy, communication and sharing? If we all spend part of the day, every day, shaping our communication skills, doesn’t that make us better leaders, mothers, brothers, sisters, co-workers, preachers, teachers, salespeople, etc? On top of that, if we all spend time everyday, wouldn’t the acceleration of skill be magnified with our collective consciousness?

I think so.

In closing, I am happy to see myself improve at noticing these things in quick conversation and I hope that you are inspired as well to spend time everyday working on and sharing (this is very important) art and communications with yourself and then the rest of us no matter how complete you think it is.

If this inspires you, send me a note at jb@barneydesign.co and tell me your thoughts, I would love to hear your reflections.

Have a wonderful day and may it be filled with joy and peace even in struggle and tribulation.

Jesse Barney