Rarely has there been a time in my life when a situation hasn’t been made better by writing my ideas down. There is something about putting the pen to paper that helps sort things out, and brings a certain clarity that would be elusive if those same thoughts were just floating around in my big, empty head.

You’ve likely heard people tout the benefits of journaling. It’s no joke. Getting in the daily habit of writing, just for the sake of writing, lets your thoughts escape and come to life. Something about that pen and paper. You find things on your page you didn’t even know existed in your head. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t journal. I have in the past and it is an amazing tool. For whatever reason, I have fallen out of the habit. As my ex-wife once said, “Pete, you’d have a really addictive personality if you could ever stick to anything long enough.” Well put.)

More often, I use the power of writing stuff down when I have something that is gnawing at me. Maybe it’s a problem I need to solve, or a new idea I need to come up with; pen on paper to the rescue.

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If you have ever been fortunate enough to experience some great coaching from the ‘right’ counselor or therapist, you know how powerful that can be. Pen on paper channels that same brain energy. A little ink can get you thinking in many of the same ways.

I can’t tell you how many times I see the best ‘thought’ out plan fail to come to life, because it remains trapped in someone’s mind. Write those things down. Most thoughts need to see the light of day. There is a world of difference between dreaming and doing, between thinking and starting. And the biggest reason most of us don’t start following that dream is because we don’t know where to start.

I’m here to tell you, it starts with writing things down.

Pete Hanson is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10:00.

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