Sanity Notes #031- The power of writing things down

Want to supercharge your clarity? Write it all down

Matt Munson
3 min readApr 3, 2024

Looking for some support? If now is the time to consider coaching (or a CEO peer circle) reach out here.

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I have been reconnecting recently with the power of writing. Over lunch recently, a friend and fellow coach described his work with his writing coach as part writing instruction part therapy. I promptly asked for an introduction.

Working with my new writing coach has brought me back into connection with the power of writing.

While I write weekly for my job, and have written for most of my roles and academic work, I had never stopped to ask myself why I write.

In our first conversation, my writing coach asked me about my relationship with writing. Why do I write? What does it do for me? What do I hope it does for others?

These simple questions reconnected me with:

  1. My intentions for writing
  2. The power of writing.

Two of my favorite quotes are:

We read to know we are not alone. -CS Lewis

I don’t know what I think until I write it down. -Joan Didion

The first quote speaks to the main reason I write as a coach. The most painful moments of my life, of my entrepreneurial journey, and of my venture into mature adulthood were moments when I felt alone in my experience.

In my early days as a founder, it seemed like everyone else had things figured out. I was floundering.

Years before I started coaching, I began writing about the most challenging parts of entrepreneurship. I wrote to help others. I wrote the things I wished I had read in my earliest days as a founder.

As I began to write, I came to see writing sharpened my thinking about my own journey as well. It helped me find context and understanding more effectively often, even than a coffee with a close friend. Writing because a bit like a coffee with my I was, in fact, writing to see what I thought. friend.

I was, in practice, writing to see what I thought. Not what thought was rushing through my fearful mind at the moment, but what I really thought at my core.

My reconnection with writing has me encouraging my clients to write more as well.

Writing has a powerful way of slowing us down, of helping us connect with the wisest parts of ourselves.

I also encourage leaders to have their teams write things down.

Board packets, company offsite documents, weekly OKR updates, all of these materials are more powerful when provided in narrative form. Bullet points on a slide give hints. Narrative word provides context, thoughtfulness, and deep thought.

At Sanity Labs, we teach that the accountabilities of the CEO are to:

  1. Hold the vision
  2. Recruit and retain the team needed to execute that vision
  3. Resource that team with capital, clarity, and care

Writing might be the greatest key to the ‘clarity’ part of your job (CEO or otherwise).

Writing brings clarity in multiple ways. Reading well-written words brings clarity for the reader. A team who writes and reads together is a team that will more easily find its way to alignment.

A leader who writes will know what she thinks.

She will help herself slow down.

She will more easily do her job. Her job of leading, her job of providing clarity, and perhaps also her job of growing as an adult.

So what about you? Where might writing be a helpful part of your work?

You can start small. Take five minutes right now and write down what this article brought forward for you. Send it my way; I would love to hear.

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Please feel free to reach out to me if I can be helpful to you in any way. Simply reply to this email.

With love from LA,


Looking for some support? If now is the time to consider coaching (or a CEO peer circle) reach out here.



Matt Munson

CEO coach @ Angel investor. Startup founder. Committed to helping leaders feel less alone in the journey.