What is Writing? An Introduction
Five primary reasons to write. Seven essentials to writing well.
by Bob Kerstetter
The Need to Write
With the exception of speaking, writing is the most popular and prevalent method of creating connections among people. As a means of building links between individuals and within communities, writing serves as the flexible foundation for almost every type of communications media. Print, video, audio, web media and sometimes speech all begin with writing.
Writing connects people across time, space and culture. Because of the influence of writing, individuals can learn from yesterday, gain knowledge about today and design for tomorrow.
Writing serves as the flexible foundation for almost every type of communications media.
An Amoral Art
Writing—being inanimate, amoral and disinterested—can transmit good or evil. It can destroy or create, cover up or reveal. Writing can prevaricate or be straightforward. It can build up or tear down, poison or heal. Writing can cause conflict or encourage peace.
Because writing in itself is neutral and indifferent, its purposes and results depend totally on the intentions and hearts of writers and their audiences.
Reasons to Write
Writers write to inform, educate, entertain, persuade and motivate.
Writing to inform tells the audience about a person, place, thing or idea in a neutral, unbiased and fair manner. Informative writing seeks fairness because objectivity is impossible. The background and beliefs of the writer distort and skew attempts at objectivity. Instead of striving for objectivity, the information writer aims for even-handedness—researching a topic from multiple points of view before sharing the findings in a straightforward manner. Informed writing requires honest self-analysis, plus accuracy in research, followed by the services of a skilled editor to eliminate any biases. According to their own training and ethics, news reporters should write to inform with fairness, not objectivity.
Educational writing begins at the knowledge level of the audience and increases their learning. More than reporting information, writing to educate explains the meanings of personalities, locations, events, objects and concepts. The educational writer studies audiences to meet their intellectual expectations. Researching with accuracy keeps this type of writing interesting and fair.
Writing to entertain is often the most effective means of transmitting a message. While there is no guarantee of successful results, amusing the audience may open otherwise closed minds. Writing to lighten the heart has the ability to remove the dread from frightening events and alarming ideas. In a world overly burdened by solemnity, a merry hearted delivery of serious content can keep audiences interested. Even so, the entertaining writer must research with accuracy and write with fairness and sensitivity.
Persuasive writing presents supportive arguments for a specific point of view. These favorable defenses must be, if not Socratically logical, at least thoughtful and reasonable. Importantly, this type of writing should acknowledge the positive values in other opinions. Showing this courtesy to alternative viewpoints adds confident strength to any argument. Persuasive writing should concentrate on ideas and actions, addressing personalities only when essential to the argument. It also requires the foundation of accurate research.
Motivational writing seeks to prompt people to action. Where persuasive writing asks for consideration of an opinion, writing to motivate requests changes in behavior. Unlike persuasive writing, motivational writing can ignore thoughtful and reasonable arguments. Appeals for emotional responses are common, often disregarding sensible evidence. Conversely, calls for action can result from carefully considered lines of reasoning. Whether emotional or rational, motivational writing requires careful research and thought.
How to Write Well
There is no secret to writing well. Following these guidelines can improve your writing:
Research so you have something to say.
Think to address the interests and needs of your audience.
Organize to make your content sensible.
Write with carefully chosen words and meaningful phrases.
Edit out inaccuracy, rumor, fluff, rage and pretense.
Revise to improve your writing.
Relax to regain your energy and focus.
Learn to Write
Village Hiker offers writing services to individuals, organizations and businesses in Richardson, Texas and worldwide. We write, ghostwrite, edit and teach. For information on how we can help you with your writing and publishing needs contact Village Hiker.