Writing is obsolete. Or is it? The very existence of that sentence is an irony. However, it is true that writing (indeed, words themselves) seems cheaper than ever, if only by the sheer deluge of them. Walk down any grocery store aisle, and you will have walked past several dissertations worth of words, almost all of which are vapid technical or marketing fluff. In a world of infinite access to instantaneous self-publishing, suddenly, the volume has been turned up on everyone. Strangely, the resultant tidal wave of noise has collectively muted every voice. In the midst of this cacophony, what is the value of speaking or writing?
According to Amanda Mitchell, an academic writer at SolidEssay and ConfidentWriters, “value of writing is threefold: it challenges the writer to think and express their ideas clearly, it makes the writer a more discerning reader, and it gives the writer a voice that transcends the limitations of their natural voice.
First Benefit of Writing
The first benefit of writing is its propensity to force the writer to crystalize their thoughts. A simple example of this is the ubiquitous to-do list. Everyone has one. It may not take the form of a traditional magnetized-to-the-refrigerator, pen-on-paper type, but everyone has a way to keep track of their activities, obligations and plans. Lists are the primordial example of the influence of writing in organizing thought. From that embryonic expression to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel-prize-winning canon of works exploring the fragility of life and its purpose, writing pushes the writer to think hard about how to find, not only the necessary words, but also the ideas feeding them. In that way, writing becomes a vessel for meaning, expression and thought—the graphic representation of the intangible world of the mind.
Second Benefit of Writing
Similarly, as writing helps bring one’s own ideas into focus, it also helps bring other’s ideas into focus. “A writer, having thought first about their own composition, is much more alert to the composition of others—their ideas and intentions,” says Kevin Williams, a creative writer at BeeStudent and Free Term Papers. Melville’s, “Call me Ishmael,” is a striking opening line to any reader, but to the person who has struggled long and considered deeply the importance of their own opening line, it inspires exponential appreciation. The power and boldness of that short sentence will provoke contemplation in the writer that the casual reader–having never attempted an opening line–will undoubtedly miss. A writer will ask themselves what the author intends by intruding its hero so abruptly upon the reader’s notice. A writer will consider its bearing on the story, its artistry, creativity and thrust. A reader may not. Clearly, the twin flames of writing and reading augment one another, each improving the experience of the other.
Third Benefit of Writing
Finally, writing offers a transcendent voice. “Transcendent voice.” It sounds so lovely, so mythical, so horribly unattainable. Certainly, not every written word or writer of words will find transcendence. But zero of the words that are never written will achieve that status. Take any discipline you like–science, philosophy, architecture—and all we know about the history and development of those fields is what was written. Undoubtably, hundreds, even thousands, of people in the Roman Empire were designing buildings and concerning themselves with the most proper, true and efficient methods of doing so. However, we know nothing today of their efforts or opinions or discoveries. We only know of the opinion of one man, Vitruvius, because in the first century he sat down to write about it. This is the power of writing. It can be immortal. It can impact people miles and years and oceans and generations away.
Clearly, writing continues to offer many rich gifts to those willing to sit under her often-grueling, sometimes-delightful tutelage. Writing helps its author organize and articulate their thoughts, moving through the complex process of transposing ideas into words that others can engage. Writing also enhances its author’s experience of reading by shedding light on the intentionality of each written word. Finally, writing lends its author an audience and potential far-reaching influence that speaking alone cannot. For these, and many other reasons, writing is still a worthy pursuit for modern people.
Paul Bates is a freelance writer contributing to a multitude educational platforms such as PaperAdepts, Paper-Research, ResearchOver, etc. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about latest trends in edtech and academic writing.