Have you ever tried explaining a complex idea to someone? An Idea that is crystal clear to you but it just doesn't come out as you have it in your mind. This is because everyone listening to you is sketching their own version of your idea in their minds, which might be very different than yours. Different people have different visual languages. The circles in your head maybe squares in someone else's.
Now, have you tried explaining an idea with a sketch on a paper or maybe a whiteboard? Everyone is on the exact same page and knows exactly what goes where.
That's the power of sketching.
It Gives Body To Your Thoughts
When the pencil in your hand touches a paper, your ideas become something tangible. Sketching ensures that your ideas and thoughts are viewed through your lens.
Sketching, Not Drawing or Painting
Maybe the last time you drew mountains, they didn't come out so good and you decided that you can't draw. If you think sketching is for artists, think again. Nobody's asking you to draw a masterpiece. Doodle for yourself, to put your thoughts on paper, to keep hold of that idea that you might want to think about later on.
It's not about drawing a perfect circle or a straight line without a ruler. It's about converying your thoughts. Nobody's going to judge.
It Helps Keep It Loose and Inspired
When you get an idea, sketching helps you experiment with it and helps you let it take shape. While sketching an idea, it feels loose and creative, without any expectations for results. There might not be any. It's pure exploration. It keeps you excited about it and you feel that you're still in very intial stages of exploring this idea of yours. And the best part - If something doesn't work for you, all you need is another blank paper and a pencil.
Jotting down everything about an idea may take some time but sketching it roughly doesn't take as much. Also, everybody likes to look at pictures or sketches more than words. Nobody likes reading large word documents with heading, subheadings and bulleted points but everyone would love to join in to understand your idea through a sketch.
You might feel that there's a sense of security in using the latest wireframing tool, that it's really quick or that's it's really simple but is it quicker than your hand or is it simpler than a blank piece of paper? Mockups are supposed to look raw and sketchy and not perfect by any means. Keep it that way. Start with a pencil.
It Invites Others to Join In
If you still choose to go with the word document with bulleted points, try getting feedback of others on your document. It will be like stumbling around in a dark room. A lot of time is wasted in making sure that one is able to picture what the other person is trying to say. But if you have to picture things in the end, why not sketch it up?
When you sketch the design of an idea and others join in to work with you, it creates a partnership. You are on the same page as others. Now, the circles in your mind are the same as in their's. You are communicating through the same visual language. It makes it really simple to add something or explain how everything works.
You'll Be Just Fine
Although it doesn't matter how pretty your sketches look but you'll get better at it with practice, as with everything. And that's only going to happen if you hold a pencil.
Try it. It's fun.