Why Write

Writing takes time and forces me to clarify my thoughts. When I am speaking, I can’t review or edit what I said. I don’t think carefully about every word I say, and when I do, I can never be as accurate as writing. Writing takes unconscious thoughts and processes and makes them conscious. It is a representation of thinking, which is valuable because I do a lot of thinking. If an idea is worth thinking about, it is worth the effort to think about it in a constructive and clear way.

When you sit down to write, half the ideas are ideas you thought of while writing. Ideas lead to more ideas. – Paul Graham

Writing is a key skill used in all aspects of life and business. Writing better makes me more persuasive and more influential. It helps me form better arguments and better communicate ideas. This leads to success. I have written throughout my life but rarely take time to analyze my own writing. The only time I critically think about my writing is when I receive feedback from teachers on my papers. This will cease after I graduate, but I have much more writing yet to do. I have written and will continue to write, email, reports, posts, tweets and more. Everyone who is successful writes. If I want success, I also have to write and write well.

At one point in human history, we didn’t have writing. People were forced to memorize knowledge or else it would be lost. Smart people had good memories and trained their memories. With the invention of writing, memory became increasingly unimportant. The downhill trend of memory importance continued to today. The phone can keep all information we ever need, take it out of your pocket, ask it a question and it knows the answer. We don’t have to have knowledge. The problem is if you do want to know something, the odds are against you. It takes work to learn and understand ideas, concepts, and facts. Complex ideas are temporary, both mine or others. Writing helps me to solidify these ideas, better understand them, and reference them in the future.

Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. – Stephen King

I enjoy reading and learning. Writing gives me an excuse to do this more. It provides the ability to put more meaning behind my reading and my notes. Writing creates connections between my life and the books I read. Even if a book doesn’t help my life at all or isn’t relevant to my career, it might help me become a better writer. Reading and writing benefit each other in a loop.

How am I supposed to stand out from the millions of other college graduates across the world? I have roughly the same credentials as other University graduates. Writing may give me a slight edge over others. It proves I think and care about the work I do. It provides content which I can point to and say “I thought about this carefully.” It is a showcase of both thinking and writing skills. Writing creates opportunities that are unavailable without writing. Sometimes you have to create your own luck, writing provides me with an opportunity to do that.

“Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity. Stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down.” – Andrew Chen

Finally, recognition. Recognition is something that I hope to keep in check. Craving recognition will lead to disappointment. There are millions of people writing and hoping that others will see their work. When nobody does, they give up. They fail to realize that they are competing against everyone else who wants your time. Facebook, Netflix, the news, other writers. There are many people who are paid large amounts of money to try to get and keep your attention, making it difficult to compete with them. Anyone who does anything publicly is looking for recognition, or at the very least, acknowledgment. I won’t pretend writing is purely an internally beneficial process. Having people read your work is rewarding, but it will not guide me.

This post is a work in progress.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter: @IanVanagas

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