“Take away the art of writing from this world, and you will probably take away its glory.” – Chateaubriand
I choose to fly with Chateaubriand on this matter. Writing is now more relevant than ever before. It is significant for real-world issues and current state of the society. Writing is a skill set – the output of the thinking process; the clothing of thoughts with words. The most important skill aside planning, organising, crafting sentences and proofreading is thinking. Writing is communication and is critical to our survival. Without it, man would have to learn everything by trial and error.
A cynic may retort, “But we can share ideas by talking, so why is writing important?” Writing endures and spreads widely. It can be transmitted to people in places all over the world. Once the spoken word has faded away, only the memory can ensure that the spoken thoughts are retained. But the faintest pen is more reliable than the sharpest memory. Cultures which use oral tradition to pass down ancient wisdom tend to remain isolated in comparison to those that can do so in written words. Writing is the most durable and transmittable way to convey thoughts.
And you may say, “Everything that needs to be written has been written already.” Granted, most writings capture experiences already heard of someplace, somehow. But shouldn’t you chew over Marcel Proust’s statement that the duty and task of a writer are those of an interpreter? Imagine what would have happened if Chimamanda Adichie had given up because Chinua Achebe had done a good job… Every writer has a flavour he brings to the table. He writes from his unique perspective – that fresh angle that charms his readers’ hearts like never before.
This 287 word essay got me into the Future Project Young Writers’ Network Creative Writing Workshop (April – June 2010)