Friday, November 7, 2014

"Why Writing Matters" by Victoria Lemmings

Writing matters because writing is communicating. We all want our voices to be heard, and writing provides an outlet for that passion of self-expression. Writing is taking a complex idea that is living and growing in your head and transferring it onto a piece of paper so that it can be shared with and appreciated by others who may have not previously seen things the way you see them. Writing is the preservation of the knowledge of others all around you, a way to keep track of history and conserve the words of those who came before us. Writing offers new perspectives and expands the scope of our minds. I have found that when spoken words fail, the written word speaks.

In the scope of the world, writing is necessary to keep history alive and to help us remember what has come before us. Historians write in history books so that we remember the past of our country and the surrounding world, not only so that we don’t make the same mistakes again, but also to commemorate and celebrate the accomplishments of our pasts. Storytellers write down the cultures and beliefs of a people so that their culture can be preserved into the future. A hundred years from now, the people of 3014 will hopefully look back at a novel by John Green to examine how teenagers lived in the 21st century and use our example to shape their own. Without writing, our achievements, greatness, and also downfalls will cease to exist with the inevitable passage of time.

In my personal life, writing helps me make sense of the world around me. Sometimes it’s easier to write out why I’m upset or annoyed than to tell someone. In the safety blanket of a worn notebook, I feel confident because my voice won’t break and I won’t stutter. With writing, my words will flow onto the page and suddenly I realize that in my hastily scribbled words I’ve discovered more about myself than I knew before. Sometimes my upcoming “word vomit” unintentionally reveals what I’ve been thinking the whole time but been too confused to comprehend. Seeing these thoughts on paper offers me much-needed clarity. Furthermore, writing opens a doorway to the amazing creativity living inside my mind. I have so much going on up in my head, and so many imaginary scenarios and fictitious characters that are just itching to find expression in a piece of creative writing. However, in my day-to-day life, this creativity often lays dormant, hiding under the thousands of other concerns clogging my brain. But when I apply myself to creative writing, these characters break out of their shackles and bubble to the surface. Writing provides the key to their previously closed doors, an outlet for the endless stories inside my head.

Academically, writing is the way to communicate understanding and knowledge. I write in almost all my classes on homework, notes, and assessments to convey my retention of the material. How else will my teacher have tangible evidence that I’m learning anything? Someone can be extremely intelligent and store a world of knowledge up in his brain, but if he doesn’t have an outlet to prove that he possesses this great gift, there’s no point. His intelligence doesn’t benefit anyone when it’s just locked away. Academic writing teaches students to break the locks on their brains in order to express themselves and share their wealth of knowledge that’s too often hidden. This expression is a form of communication that is a vital skill which must be taught and practiced.

What about writing to learn? This is essential. Whenever I have a topic for school that I’m confused about, I try putting some time aside to write about it. I’ve found that, similar to writing out my feelings in a journal to realize my emotions, writing to learn academically has significant benefits. Writing gets one’s cognitive juices flowing and brings underlying ideas and themes bubbling to the surface and ready for use. Writing to learn gives one the chance to think endlessly and fully. If someone learns how to write well they will think well because writing is just documented thinking. We have to think to learn.

Ultimately, writing is irrevocably significant to the world, to schools, and to the individual. Write to learn, write to communicate, write to discover new things. Write for academics and write to think, but above all else write for yourself. 

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