How writing promotes personal development.
Many years ago I read a quote by David Ogilvy on writing.
Even though I couldn’t see through what he meant by those words — that is, what writing well and living well have in common, I just scribbled them in my journal hoping to figure it out someday.
Over a period, those words began to make meaning to me and today I’m writing this article you are reading now on the validity of that quote.
Here’s the quote:
“If you write well, you will think well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters, and woolly speeches.”
“But how is that so?” You may ask.
Well, the same was the question I asked myself when I first read it.
But let me see how I can make it clear for you.
First, understand what the act of writing is:
Writing is giving expression to your thoughts through written words.
So what we do when we write is to put on paper a tangible and a more objective version of our thoughts.
So when you read an article or a story from someone like Linda Horton—one of my most admired writers, what you are reading is the written version of her thoughts on the issue addressed.
What you read from what she’s written is essentially the crystallized thought she’s got on the issue.
If her argument is sound from what you can find out from her writing, then you can infer that she’s got a sound mind with a healthy thought process.
The second is that, as James Allen rightly said:
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he and as he continues to think, so he shall become.”
A sound mind with a healthy thought process makes a healthy and sound life. The life will almost always take after the quality of the mind. If the mind is hazy, the life too will be hazy, if the mind is calm — as per meditation therapy, then the life is peaceful and the individual lives with a high sense of self-awareness and purpose.
If you write well, you will think we’ll and when you think well, you will live well.
But there are exceptions
I have met some people who think well and live well but don’t just write. You might have also seen some yourself.
How now can we explain how that is?
I have come to realize that a good life comes either of two ways
The first is you are born that way while the second is what you develop yourself.
The first is by nature while the other comes through nurture.
I can’t tell you how many percentages are on either of the two groups, all I can say is that when you discover you don’t have it naturally, the wisest thing to do is to acquire it yourself.
Some of us were not given; we gained it through writing. I am a candidate for those that learnt to think well through writing. So writing for us is sanity and life.
Thomas Plummer wrote me a comment after I wrote how I felt the first day he mentioned my name. From some stories he published where he wrote about his life as a writer coupled with his comment, I also saw he possibly identifies with the second group as well.
Here’s the comment:
Hi Joshua, This popped up first thing this morning and I can truly say you made my day. I travel many weeks a year teaching workshops around the world and this time of year I always feel tired and a little beaten. My writing is often the only way I stay sane, I think. Your kind story here put a smile on my face and eased a lot of the late year craziness I was feeling. You simply made my day perfect. I wish you great writing. I think your style and passion is already shinning through and you are on your way. Thank you again my young writing friend, I wish you the best of everything.
Till our paths cross again dear friend, let’s progress with the conclusion of that quote from David Ogilvy:
“Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.”
Good luck, friend.
Thanks for your time.