Writing is one of the proverbial “Three ‘R’s” of education we go to school to learn to do. The other two are Reading and ’Rithmetic, or Arithmetic (that is, foundational Mathematics). The spelling of Arithmetic is as adapted – just as “writing” offers the “r” sound in its first syllable – to give the “Three R” mnemonic or memory aid for identifying the three building blocks of education. This suggests that, for one to be well educated, or to begin being well educated, learning to write is important.
Writing, broadly, is the medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols, alphabetic or numeric. But in this context, writing connotes the activity or occupation of composing text for publication. And, here, by “publication”, we don’t mean only the commercial activity of media or publishing houses. Publication means making written material available to any public audience.
So why do we write?
Writing gives people the opportunity to express themselves regardless of whether they are writing journalism, fiction or other forms. Writing clarifies our thinking. Thoughts and feelings are usually cloudy occurrences in our minds. However, writing forces us to crystalize those thoughts and put them in logical order.
People write for a variety of reasons, like expressing oneself, writing for educational purposes, to gain attention or notoriety or writing books. But mainly, writing serves to provoke change.
Writing to Express Yourself
When people are stressed out or bothered by certain situations in their lives, writing can soothe those nerves. Putting thoughts on a page can help people solve those problems or just provide a sense of peace by expressing their feelings rather than keeping them bottled up. Journals, diaries and poetry are perfect examples that writing soothes the soul. These personal memoirs are a collection of memories, good and bad, that the writer wrote about in order to keep a particularly positive memory alive or resolve a negative one.
Writing for Educational Purposes
Students write to enhance their education and meet class or course requirements. This is irrespective of the level of education, be it basic school, senior high or right up to postdoctoral level. Essays, reports, term papers, dissertations and theses are examples of such educational writing.
Writing to Provoke Change
Writing can also be used to provoke change. When people blog or publish books and articles about controversial issues, they are using persuasive language to get their point across and convince others that their platform on a certain policy is correct. When writers have a very large audience, they are sometimes able to influence public opinion.
Writing to Gain Attention or Notoriety
Writers can also use their tools to gain attention or notoriety. They may focus on writing about a particular topic to become well-known for their opinions about it. This kind of writing also gains influence for the writer.
People write books for a wide variety of reasons. But in general, the underlying reason is that they have a story to share with the world, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Writing a book gives a writer the opportunity to have his ideas heard by people all over the world.
Writing is a powerful skill to be good at in our digital age with many work meetings, assignments and appointments carried out online or virtually. So how does one get better at writing? Writing regularly makes one a good or better writer. In the subsequent pieces, I’ll be sharing insights on the fundamentals of good writing. This will be geared towards writing fiction that works.
By Raymond Tuvi