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Hey personal developers,

You know that thing you swore off in college to never do again because you were no good at it? I’m talking about that thing you were forced to do as a requirement of classes. That thing you dealt with by stringing together every reference, quotation, and straight up plagiarized sentence you could to squeeze out two full double spaced pages. Ahhh yes, writing.

Ok so maybe the above only applies to me but I’m hoping at least some can relate. Writing traditionally held a place in my brain that was far from the pleasure cortex (note: I’m not a doctor). Writing needed to be forced upon me growing up for me take action. I always subconsciously thought writing only benefited the minds of scholars, novelists, and nerds. I recently found that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

After reading Accidental Genius by Mark Levy, it opened my eyes to the potential benefits to writing that are not obvious.  Here are a few of the real benefits I noticed since I’ve started writing:

1. Clarity of thought and problem solving– Our minds work in very imperfect ways.  Often in our thoughts we jump around between many different topics that are interconnected in random and astonishing ways.  For instance in a twenty second span someone may think- I’m feeling a little tired I shouldn’t of when out last night, its all because I ran into Jenny, why was she wearing that color dress, I remember in college wearing a dress like that, when was the last time I went back to college, I wish I kept in contact with more people in college, I miss derick, and on and on…  It’s pretty amazing how this works but it is not an efficient process.  When I run into a particular problem at work or an opportunity I want to evaluate, I will write everything down.  Writing sharpens your intellectual pencil and provides you the ability to see a bigger and more in depth picture of the situation.  In example: I am trying to determine how to improve a young professionals group I started.  I will first write down why I want to improve the group, then I will write my vision for the group, write down a list of ideas, and list pros and cons for each idea. Once I’m complete I can sit back and evaluate the entire problem and I know for certain I will have a greater number of and more creative ideas than if I thought alone.

2. Own the topic– Knowledge is a valuable resource.  Saying you’re an expert in a particular area is a lot easier than actually being an expert in that area.  A colleague of mine once said “writing allows you the ability to own the topic.  It forces you really understand the topic and requires you to stand by that knowledge”.  This colleague is one of the best writers I have ever met and is currently a contributor for Forbes magazine.  He is also a bad-ass skier – http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/.  A recommendation would be to blog or write an article on a subject that you want to learn or refine your knowledge about.  As a young guy myself attempting to learn complex accounting topics, writing has become an invaluable tool.

3. Young? Perfect time to start– If you happen to be like me you are in the early years of your career (I’m going on my forth year).  I don’t necessarily know hundreds of people in my industry, have referral sources or have a large book of business.  However, I want to meet people and start doing the things necessary to get me there.  Writing is the perfect way to step up while your young and contribute to your career and the profession.  Everyone is impressed by published articles, it builds your personal brand, and I guarantee you it is not that difficult.  Monthly publications are always looking for content and sometimes they struggle to fit the spots.  Once you have some articles under your belt consider starting a blog to increase the consistency of your writing.  It creates amazing visibility within your profession.  Check out this blog from my buddy Scott who’s blog has over 500 subscribers and he is only 25 years old- http://life-longlearner.com/.

These are just a few of the benefits of writing that come first to mind.  If you have noticed any other benefits I’d love to hear them!  Excuse me as I continue to write at least 10 minutes a day for at least the next month to build a habit out of it.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend everyone (if in the US :)),

Eric