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  • October 30, 2021 4 min read

    Out of the many skills that we acquire and learn early in life, whether in school or at home, there are two things that often get overlooked: reading and writing. Understandably, this is not on purpose; much like walking and talking, being able to read and write gets integrated into our daily lives only to turn into ordinary tasks, ones that become necessary and normal. That being said, we often forget just how important literacy is except during the best of times. 

    But while knowing we’re capable of reading and writing is one thing, realizing just how powerful we are as a result is another—and if there’s any part of life that shows how evident that power is, it’s when we’re writing. Reading will always remain vital, but the ability to write is something else altogether. No wonder educational institutions require essays, book reports, dissertations, and other types of papers during the course of a students’ school life: not only does it gauge learning and understanding, it also encourages its development further. Undeniably, writing is thinking since it allows us to pause, sift through the thoughts in our heads, turn the ideas round and round, and then express them using our own words. 

    This begs the question: in what ways does writing help us on an intellectual level, not just as an individual but as communities, and what are the ways it improves our thinking? In today’s article, let’s take a look at why all of us should definitely learn how to write!

     

    1. It helps develop critical thinking, an important skill needed to keep the world going.

    There are many ways to define critical thinking, and The Foundation for Critical Thinking alone has several definitions for it. Truth be told, it’s a complex thing to define, but to make it simple, we can consider it a leveled up version of just thinking: it allows us to look at information more closely so that we ask questions, analyze, and reflect on a set of given data not just to understand it, but make something more out of it. Through critical thinking, we’re able to influence change, solve problems, come up with new ideas, create and invent new things, and innovate. Without a doubt, all of these are necessary to maintain, develop, and improve the world we live in for the better. 

    Writing is a great way to develop our critical thinking skills because it makes us question, analyze, and reflect. 

    When we put pen to paper, regardless of what we’re writing about, we’re forced to break down what we know to bits and pieces, sort through all the little details that come out of it, rearrange them into something systematic and understandable that we can present to others, and then build everything back up so we can form a coherent written piece. 

     

    2. It’s a cycle that gives you clarity, which can help with writing, which then assists with clarity… and so on.

    One of the things that writing allows us to do is organize our thoughts, mainly because we can see what they are. Sounds simple? That’s because it is! As opposed to just letting them float around in our heads, having our thoughts in written form makes going back and forth from one idea to the next a lot easier.

    No wonder journaling is such an effective means to declutter the mind: the act of writing itself gives us a means to express ourselves unfiltered so that we, in turn, write some more—this time with a focus on what’s important (and what isn’t) and choosing the right words to be able to communicate what we have to say clearly not just to others, but to ourselves. 

    Likewise, the same exercise that gives us clarity also helps us with writing. The more our thoughts make sense, the simpler it is to pen them down. It’s a wonderful loop that feeds off of one another in a helpful, positive way. 

     

    3. Writing can change both individual people and the world. 

    While others will say that force and violence are quicker ways to promote change, in the long run, nonviolence has more impact and influence according to research published by The Harvard Gazette. This isn’t surprising in the least: instead of instilling fear and causing harm, nonviolent means like a piece of writing can provide inspiration and food for thought, with a more inclusive, far-reaching message that can echo across generations and even transcend language and race.

    Let’s take the following books as examples: Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Vindication of the Rights of Women, and Richard Wright’s Native Son all played a role in changing the way people view minorities, racism, and feminism. The Bible, the Qur’an, and the Torah continue to affect the way people see religion. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations is seen as a foundational text for classical economics, and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels highlights issues on capitalism and how it affects our society. 

    Compared to the use of violence, writing can make people think so that they end up making changes themselves—for better or worse—and all without any bloodshed involved. 

     

    Conclusion

    In school, we’re often told that all the writing we do is for a grade, but there’s a more important, underlying reason why we are taught this skill: writing makes us coherent and articulate, which can help us communicate with anyone about anything. This kind of empowerment opens doors, provides countless opportunities, more than simple literacy alone ever can—and armed with a pen, one we know how to use, gives us the ability to change more than ourselves: it can also help us make a lasting impact on the rest of the world. 

    In what other ways can writing change us and what we know? Have there been specific instances that writing has helped you in life and changed it for the better? We’d love to hear from you so let us know in the comments below!  

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