Get Black on White

Whether through osmosis, dinner conversations, or take-your-son-or-daughter-to-work days, children inevitably pick up wisdom and phrases from their parents’ professions.

Our dad is a writer. When we were little, he traveled all over the country teaching lawyers how to write more concisely. He traveled all over the world researching for his books, nonfiction stories that he carefully crafted over years.

From the time we were old enough to string sentences together, he sat down with us to help us edit everything we ever wrote. Sometimes we’d stay up until 2 a.m. editing papers together—he didn’t expect my attention span and quest for perfectionism at eight years old could outlast his.

In all of those precious moments, the best writing tip he ever gave us was: get black on white. Spend 15 minutes just getting your thoughts out. Don’t worry about perfection, or following your outline, or if you’re going to get an “A.” The only rule: don’t stop typing.

We get so hung up on creating sentences that link perfectly to one another in order, like puzzle pieces. We can’t write the next sentence until the first is perfect. But our minds don’t work that way, and organizing and refining our thoughts is much easier when they’re on paper. By writing fluidly, I am able to better see what my actual thesis is.

Shameless plug: With KinderInk, you can now apply this to your thank you notes. You can get your ideas and messages written knowing that it’s okay to make mistakes, that you can easily move sentences, delete extra words, and check your spelling.

For most, this feels uncomfortable, but I promise – if you try it, it will revolutionize how you feel about writing. Often the hardest part is starting. Whether it’s a paper, just an email, or your wedding thank you notes, maybe Nike was on to something in the 90s – Just do it.