I’m writing to you – well, talking to you – from a voice memo on my phone. What I’m doing is an exercise in talking to myself – one that I first started over 15 years ago at university.
The reason I do it is to solve problems. I do this by speaking the problems through with different personas: my wife’s 96-year-old grandfather; my old course lecturer; my nephew and so on. For each one I adopt a different conversational style, each one helping to shape and refine the problem, the idea and ultimately the solution.
There are a couple of reasons why I find talking to myself not only helpful, but a cathartic part of the creative process:
A chance to say what you really think
Our brains have approximately 100 billion neurons, capable of processing information within as little as 13 milliseconds. Unsurprisingly, that means that the brain can become a cacophony of daily tasks and noise. Talking to yourself can briefly silence any other intruding thoughts that might be distracting you from really tackling the issue.
Plus, the way you speak (in comparison to writing) is incredibly important, as it allows your brain to say exactly what it wants. This brings warmth, energy and the delightful clumsiness of everyday conversation into your process. I also find that the best solutions have a human sentiment at their core; conversation.