Jordan Ogren

March 16, 2022

Before you write, do this.

This might seem like common sense, but I'm gonna say it anyway:

Think first, write second.

Many times, we jump right to the writing. By getting to the writing ASAP, we think we will produce better work than waiting.

While it "works," aka it gets something written down, I don't believe it leads to our best work. It's merely a heuristic to finishing. When we want to finish something, we act (do something).

But, if we want to create better work, we need to think first. We need to take a few steps back rather than writing that sales email or article. 

We need to think critically about the thing we are writing.

I recommend asking three critical questions before writing anything:
  • Who is it for?
  • What is it for?
  • How will we know if it is working?

Once we can articulate answers to those questions, we can write better off the bat, resulting in a better end product.

Note: I'm not suggesting taking days to contemplate the questions. It's a quick mental reorientation around the objective of our writing.

By thinking before we write, we ultimately write something more impactful.

In regards to writing better headlines, Dan Nelken has this to say:

"You have to think before you write because great headlines aren't great sentences—they're great ideas expressed in words."

I'd argue all written content (or marketing and sales) is ideas expressed in words. And the only way I see to improve ideas is to think.

Do you think it's important to think before you write?

Or do you prefer to get something on the paper and then do your thinking?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO