Writing Can Save You Time

People don’t write because it “takes too long.” Typing and editing is too much work, so they don’t put their best ideas on paper. This strategy saves time in the short term, but over the long term, it hurts them.

Writing can save you time. Publishing ideas on paper is how you create intellectual capital because writing is how you make your ideas permanent. Words on paper are the closest thing we have to time travel. Once you write something down, you can remix and reuse the ideas for the rest of your life.

Writing is research and development for your brain. The words you publish now are the seeds of your future projects. Every time you write down an idea, you add a Lego block to your intellectual arsenal. The more Legos you have, the more things you can build. Writing is the same. The more you write now, the more you can create in the future. As the number of artifacts you create increase linearly, the number of connections you make between them increase exponentially.

Starting a project when you’re a prolific writer is like running a marathon and starting at the 24-mile marker. You’ve already done most of the work. You don’t need to research, think of a new framework, or scavenge your memory for that great idea you once had but can’t remember anymore. 

I’ve gotten to the point where I only say yes to projects I’m 80% done with. I only say yes to projects I can mostly tackle with Lego blocks I’ve already created. That intellectual capital took a long time to build, but since I can reuse the ideas forever, all those Lego blocks will save me thousands of hours over the course of my career.


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