Well the task of language is to create an image, metaphorically speaking, an image like a complete transfer of meaning, meaning in turn being what was intended to be understood by the recipient.
I don't think thought has to have anything to do with words. Of course we can speak to ourselves, but I think thoughts are like information which we don't "sense", but if we were to say that information, transfer it, we'd need something sensible, and so we use words. When we speak to ourselves, we do it for practice, self-study and entertaining ourselves. We don't actually "think" words, though it is possible to have echoes of words and sounds etc. in your head, that becomes different, that's not proper thought, that's either due to some "catch", like a tune "you just can't get out of your head" even if that tune is annoying, or serving a function of aiding thought, like practice, self-study and entertainment.
How do you excel in each one? You excel when your intention of using words proves successful. If you write, you may want to bring out emotions in people, and then your writing style becomes an art of guiding your reader through an emotionally gripping path. Like making your character seem very lovable or have some quality people desire a lot and would fall soft for, not to mention making your reader comfortable enough with your writing to open their hearts to the story.
In philosophy, such things as "clarity" and "righteous belief", are typical aims for achievement. The first a measure of how well the idea you are transferring is integrated with the recipients mind not facing resistance, the later a measure of how well you can convince somebody that what you believe in is what they should believe in too, like an ideology or some world-view.
In music it's all about making people of a certain kind of mood, music genres themselves usually representing a typical mood, be open to getting emotionally pulled by the music. Whether it's sad music, angry music, happy music, romantic music, glorious music etc. With people like Bob Marley for instance, I would say he writes sad music that at the same time makes people happy, or at least less sad, because it's "lightening the mood" with comfortable sounds, soothing texts and a child's playfulness, while acknowledging that bad things happen, and to people where that kind of attitude is appreciated, he will find a heart to reach.