Writing to Think Better

This article is called writing to think better and describes how we use a pencil and note book to help with our intelligence analysis and reporting. Using a pen or pencil and a piece of paper and writing your thoughts down helps you think better. Your mind is full of ideas, and you have them all in your head all the time. 

Who is more intelligent?

Who is more intelligent? The person who can recite 20 number in order over an extended period? Or the person who writes them down on a piece of paper? Which of the two people will perform better and have more capacity to extend the number recital to 200, 2,000 or even 100,000 numbers in order?

Yes, keeping more things in your mind makes you more intelligent, but it’s holding the critical stuff in there that matters. Also, no matter how clever we are, we all need some help, especially when media is bombarding us with so much information. 

Good for your mind

The process of writing helps people with stress and coming to solutions more than just judging success on what you write about what you are thinking about a subject. It’s likely that if you don’t write down your thoughts and ideas, you have, then some of them will never exist. 

Without taking notes, thinking quality suffers, and your thoughts and ideas may not be as smart or sharp as they could be. See note-taking, scribbling things down as an extension to your mind. Externalised cognition extends your thinking space and makes you smarter. Writing notes to remember things or list things to do is only the start. It help can you think more clearly about everyday problems and business issues. 

Hold more ideas than you can remember

At any one time you have hundreds ideas running through your head. More than your memory can handle. Writing your thoughts down onto paper will allow you to break them down into workable parts. And avoid mental tiredness when you write down an idea or a problem or solution, you are able to observe a problem or contradiction to what you wrote further up the page. If you keep it in mind, you can dismiss the original thoughts quickly, even though they may create a positive solution. 

Writing things down is incredibly powerful

Also, rather than butting in during a conversation to make your point, write down your thoughts ready for when it’s your turn. If you don’t write it down, you may have interrupted someone offering great information or if you are anything like me, forget the point you wanted to make in the first place! Writing things down out of your mind is incredibly powerful. 


Write your problems down in your notebook. Just jot down what comes out of your mind, along with possible solutions and then read through them and put your notes in order. A written down problem is so much easier when taken out of your mind. 


When you are about to have a meeting, why not write down what you want to discuss before it starts? Write it as if you were writing a letter, memo or email. Of course, there is no need to send the email, but it helps you clearly think through your ideas, suggestions, the problem and the solution. Having done this, you will be so much more prepared and clear in the meeting. 


Write ideas down, to understand problems however hard they may be. Try the Feynman technique as follows:

  1. Write down the problem you want to understand. 
  2. Explain the idea to yourself as if you were teaching it to someone new to the subject. 
  3. Explain what you do and don’t understand
  4. Get stuck research further until you know better and then go back to step 2. 
  5. If you still have confusing or hard to understand statements try and write it down again, simplifying the language or create an analogy to help you understand it better


This article was called writing to think better and describes how we use a pencil and note book to help with our intelligence analysis and reporting. It explores the power of writing notes when you are thinking and working.

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