How to Write Your Way to Better Decisions

I’ve been listening via Audiobook to Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content, a book on free-writing that I’m not sure why it took me so long to find. I am devouring this thing. (As much as you can devour an audio book, I suppose).

If I remember correctly, I got this thing free — or nearly free — and basically only pressed play on it because I didn’t have any other book synched to my iphone and I was feeling temporarily bored with my favorite podcasts.

And then, my mind blew open.

Because, this book (this short book, I might add) is smart. As I come to its last (short, did I say that already?) chapter, I’m pretty much thinking that this here is a darn good business book that doesn’t get enough billing. People should read this. Hear me?!

People who want to use the written word to improve their thinking, that is. Because that’s what the book is about, really. It might sound like it’s about the craft of writing, but it’s really not. Oh yes, you’ll learn all kinds of ways to get unblocked and to get the words flowing and turn crappy freewriting into gold, but what you’ll really learn is how to think. 

How to think by writing.

How to make good choices by writing.

How to figure out your life by writing.

Because what it’s really about is figuring out your life. Figuring out decisions you have to make. And figuring out how to use the written word to help you make those decisions.

When I say “written word” I don’t mean anything fancy. I mean you, a pen, a computer, and a made up character or two (yes, those are strategies recommended in the book).

Got something you need figured out? Try the book.

Have you read it? Did you love it? Or did you hate it and now think I’m crazy? 


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14 thoughts on “How to Write Your Way to Better Decisions

  1. I’ve been writing my way into decisions for as long as I can remember! I find once I pour all my jumbled feelings and emotions out on paper (well, it started on paper), they suddenly sort themselves out and I am able to see the full picture – as if from outside of myself. We all know how much easier it is to find solutions for someone else’s problems than our own.

    I also write to clear my mind. It’s sort of like unloading a great weight of nagging, throbbing, confusing thoughts. Once these thoughts are converted into words – they either make sense or prove to be unworthy of my attention, and I no longer have the need to carry them around in my mind.

    I will definitely find this book, very curious. Thank you for suggesting it, Claire :).

  2. Thanks, Claire! As a writer, I figured this would be helpful on my bookshelf — I wasn’t expecting a great resource book for a workshop I’m doing in August! Started reading last night, and I have already run across several comments that will help in clearing writer’s block. I expect I’ll be recommending this book to participants.

  3. Freewriting, according to Mark Levy, is deceptively simple: Start writing as fast as you can, for as long as you can, about a subject you care deeply about, while ignoring the standard rules of grammar and spelling. In my opinion, that is perhaps having a diary that you could pour out your heart and soul about almost anything in this world. Cool. 😉

  4. Discovering genius may be accidental, but realizing it is not. As stated by the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavolva: “In my life I have seen them come to the front – brilliant-minded people; intense men and women who had great talent for what they did, but they did not, could not, last. . God gives talent. Work transforms talent into genius.”

  5. The kid has it right. Genius is always accidental. Basically we are all blind to our own potential, so we have to flush it out of our subconscious, in much the same way that a hunter flushes quail out of the bushes. Writing is a great way to do that, but so is drawing and debating and dancing and improvising poetry and music and all sorts of extemporaneous activitiy. Unless we force our genius out of the shadows, we may never know it’s there. The hard part is perfecting it once we find it.

    • Is there a way to edit these thing? Too bad you don’t have spellcheck. Sometimes it’s hard to see typos on an iPhone.