Writing: Paradise or Imprisonment?

Writing is a privilege that most people in the developed world obtain at a young age. The ability to express arms us with power and agency; it is liberating yet dangerous in offering boundless possibilities to spark change and instigate thought.  A strength comes from the written word that is arguably temporary in speech. Whilst words dissolve in the air once spoken, the written remains permanent.

The act of carefully selecting words, wielding a pen like a knife to carve out thoughts, is personal. In today’s technological climate it’s convenient to use laptops or phones to realise our thoughts (I’m heavily reliant on them myself). However, there’s a feeling of power that comes with writing by hand. Holding a pen and feeling the paper under your fingers as you scrawl your deepest, darkest thoughts across the page is freeing. The blank sheet is your canvas and the writing tool a brush with which master pieces are made.  You feel more connected to the experience of writing when approaching it this way. Words can communicate the parts of yourself you’re not prepared to show the rest of the world. The way you dot your i’s and cross your t’s, the choice of writing cursive or having each letter stand isolated speaks true to your character.

Writing can feel like being in paradise; in the moment you can be the truest, most honest version of yourself. It’s easy to splurge onto a blank piece of paper because it’s literally objective. It is unable to shut down your ideas or disregard thought; the writer has no limits and the possibilities seem endless. However, in instances writing can be somewhat restrictive.  As a literature student writing is approached analytically. Countless hours are spent meticulously investigating the effect of words. Everything is done for a reason and attempting to uncover why, through a scholastic lens, can be stifling.  Approaching writing as something to study does leave you turning away from it at times. Having said this there’s also a lot of enjoyment in it.  You’re made to think deeply about in ways that don’t accommodate blindly skimming over a text. Such close reading encourages new and exciting interpretations that completely change your reading experience.

A creative writer or story–teller uses writing to bring their imagination to life.  They may aim to create a narrative that relates to people from many walks of life. Either way, it becomes a form of escapism. In a single moment the reader leaves the present and is taken to a place that transcends reality.  In contrast, the journalist may aim to educate through reporting current affairs.  They might make you think about topics in ways that contrast with your initial beliefs. Regardless, there is a theme here: writing inspires. Not only is the writer enthused by the act, the audience can see the world through a different lens. Taking in a different perspective can instigate a chain of new ideas that further inspires. Power comes from being able to communicate the abstract.  It transports the reader from one space to another.

From this perspective, writing isn’t a gift or skill but a necessity. We need to write to connect with the deepest parts of ourselves. Where spoken word fails, pen and paper remain standing. You may fumble over your words or freeze in scenarios of public speaking. However, curled up on your bed or in the corner of a coffee shop with a notepad and paper there is nothing holding you back. There is no need to speak at all. You are purely authentic. One doesn’t need to hide behind a guise because, when writing, words make abstract thoughts real.



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