Writing is a lonesome activity. Thoughts don’t suffice: one needs to pore over sentence structures, punctuations, delivery, and a plethora of other technicalities before hitting ‘publish’. And in a world of ten-second attention spans, reels are a better shot at popularity. So, why write?
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Believe it or not, writing answers more questions for the writer than it does for the reader. How? By imposing a sense of responsibility.
Three days earlier, I wrote a piece on the middle class. Did I have predominant ideas on the topic? Yes, I did. But the process of framing those ideas into an article had me go back to the drawing board, only to discover that some of them were under-substantiated, thus enhancing my understanding.
No wonder people maintain journals to make better sense of their lives.
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Humans have inherent pride, meaning all of us have something to say. But why do scramble for space in friendly chats and stay mum in-office meetings? That is largely due to the omnipresent human fear — criticism.
In taking the leap of faith and writing in the public domain, you open yourself to criticism from an unfamiliar audience.
It is daunting at first, much like learning to ride a bicycle. What if readers don’t like the piece? You eventually realize that, well, if they don’t, they don’t. Not everyone has to like, or even read, what you write. It’s often the other way around: you write for yourself, and then you find your audience.
Writing exposes the futility of perfectionism, in a world that is overwhelmingly obsessed with being perfect.
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If a hundred people read your piece, at least ten will absorb your ideas. Why? Because they’re investing five minutes of their lives, that they could otherwise have spent on Youtube, to read something from a nondescript writer. They’re looking for value.
Compare that with reels, where you could have a hundred thousand views and yet not guarantee that even one would retain anything for long.
Besides, unlike social media, articles more often challenge beliefs than reinforce them. No one looks towards an article for cheap entertainment, meaning you’d be doing something worthwhile when you write.
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Notwithstanding all that, writing helps workaholics cope with relative boredom until they start their corporate jobs.
If you liked this article, I’ve written another one about why language matters.