Writing down ideas is a key to creativity

The process of writing about an idea is one of the best things you can do to help you create it. Thinking about an idea and talking about it is important but the activity of writing it down can transform it into something else. When you think of creativity you might imagine people huddled in brainstorms, post-its littering whiteboards with scribbled insights, and lightbulb moments enthusiastically expressed in a meeting.

But when it comes to writing down the idea, seeing it visually laid out and silently reading it out, you can start to hear the opportunities and challenges in the words that we couldn’t see before.

You need to write enough to get the benefit. A short status update or tweet may get you the instant gratification of retweets and likes, but there’s also the danger you could allow it to get shot down too early and prematurely give up. It could also prevent you developing the idea by making the connections and finding relationships that can happen best as a solitary part of the process.

What happens when you write down ideas? The science of fast and slow thinking may be helping your brain develop an idea. Described by David Kahneman in his bestselling book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, it explains the brain’s two main ways of thinking – system 1 (fast and subconscious) and system 2 (slow and thoughtful). As you write you are probably utilizing both of these for jotting down initial thoughts and then editing, here’s more on that. When you’re in a brainstorming situation or a meeting, it’s hard to expose the slow thinking that writing down an idea fully would give you.

To give ideas a chance, find a place to write it down whether it’s a notebook that only you see or online for others to see. Either way, the process of writing it down will give a possibility for the idea to develop in a way that may not happen otherwise.

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