Writing is the backbone of the modern world. Without it, we wouldn’t have any science, technology or culture. We use it every day of our lives, usually without thinking about it.
But why is writing important for you?
You might think that you only need to be a good writer if you plan on becoming a novelist. That’s not true, however: writing can help you in all walks of life, from your career to your relationships.
Why writing is important
This guide is going to explain why writing is important, and explore the best ways you can improve your writing skills.
1. Writing clears your mind
How many times have you gotten stressed over all the things you needed to do?
When tasks pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We find it hard to juggle multiple problems at once, and when that happens, our problems often seem larger than they really are.
Writing things down forces us to put our thoughts in logical order. Rather than jumping back and forth between different trains of thoughts, writing down what’s on our mind lets us look at our problems one-by-one.
In turn, this makes it easier to plan out what we’re going to do about them, and often shows they weren’t as serious as we once thought.
If you want some practice, try writing a to-do list every morning right after you wake up. This will give you a great plan to tackle the day ahead of you, while also getting you into the habit of putting your problems down on paper.
2. Writing is an important communication skill
Everybody wishes they were a better communicator. Knowing what to say, and when to say it, lets us defuse conflicts, spread important messages and convince people to do what we want.
Writing is a great way to improve our communication skills, because it removes the time-pressure we feel in actual conversations. Rather than constantly needing to think of something to say, you can pause and think about what you could say that would be most effective.
You can practice this by writing for lots of different audiences. Writing messages to your boss and your friend requires different styles of communication, so you can get practice communicating in multiple manners.
3. Writing makes you a better reader
The better you are at something, the more you can appreciate how skilled other people are at it. If you’re a chef, for instance, you’ll be able to tell if the food a restaurant is serving you is worth what you paid for it or not.
Writing is the same.
Experienced writers are also discerning and intelligent readers. Every time you critique your own writing, you’ll learn and be able to notice the problems that other writers also face, from grammar mistakes to using words that don’t make sense.
More importantly, it’ll help you read closely and carefully.
Rather than just skimming through a piece of text, you’ll be better able to pick up on small details that you would have missed before.
This is useful in any number of situations, from understanding the subtle details in a crucial business contract to fully understanding how someone feels from a letter they wrote to you.
A way to practice this is to take something you’ve enjoyed recently and to rewrite it in your own writing style. You’ll come to appreciate why the original author made the choices they did, and in turn that’ll let you understand the text on a deeper level than before.
4. Writing helps you get jobs
Every business on the planet needs writers: no exceptions. Whether it’s finalizing contracts with business partners or coming up with catchy new slogans, companies are constantly on the lookout for people with good writing skills.
There are hundreds of careers based on how well you can put one word after another: blogger, copywriter, content writer, journalist, editor… the list goes on and one. To put it simply, if you want to become a writer, good writing skills are important.
All this, of course, isn’t even considering how your writing makes you look to employers.
Hiring managers are infamous for throwing out resumes with even a single typo. Needless to say, you don’t want yours to be one of them. Make a point of regularly writing compelling cover letters to potential employers – it’s an underrated way to improve your chances on the job market.
5. Writing’s often the best way to send a message
Television. Radio. Smoke signals. Interpretative dance. If humans are good at one thing, it’s coming up with ways to talk to each other. But writing was there before all of them, and it’ll be there after they’re all gone.
Writing is so wide-spread because you don’t need a video-camera to send a letter, or a microphone to compose a sonnet. All you need is your mind, making it the cheapest most adaptable kind of communication out there.
Beyond that, writing is important because it’s an incredibly efficient way to convey information.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a few sentences can still pack in a truly incredible amount of information.
It’s probably only taken you a few minutes to read this far in the article, and it’s already covered a lot of ground. If this post had been a video of me talking instead, it would take much longer to get its message across.
In other words, being able to pack lots of information into not much space is just another reason why writing is so important.
As practice, try taking something that isn’t written down – a video essay or online course, for instance – and try putting the same message into writing. You might be surprised at how much shorter you can make it.
6. Writing helps you understand difficult things
Your teachers at school told you to take notes for a reason: it’s impossible to really learn something by just sitting back and trying to take it in passively.
Taking notes as you listen to a lecture or go through a textbook makes learning challenging topics easier for a number of reasons.
The simplest reason is that you’re creating something you can refer back to. Rather than sitting through the entire lecture again, you can glance at your notes for a few seconds and get back up to speed. These quick reviews are incredibly helpful at building long-term memories and understanding.
As a natural consequence of that, writing is important because taking notes also forces you to understand the material on a deeper level than you would otherwise.
Passive learning means your brain can ignore the parts that it doesn’t understand. If you’re taking notes, though, you have to actively think about what you’re writing. You’re constantly figuring out how to summarize the material in ways that will make sense to you later, a process which naturally leads to an intuitive understanding of the topic.
Taking good notes is an important writing skill, but it isn’t easy.
Try watching TED talks on YouTube or summarizing a science textbook to see how you do. Review your notes a week later – do they make sense?
7. Writing is fun!
There are lots of practical reasons why writing is important, but sometimes enjoying something is the only reason you need.
Writing can be fun in lots of different ways: thinking of the right way to phrase a sentence, for example, or coming up with a clever metaphor. are interesting mental challenges that feel rewarding to solve. Who doesn’t love a good ‘Eureka!’ moment, after all?
Free writing, where you sit down and simply write without any pre-planned topic, is a great way to jump into writing simply for the fun of it.
Of course, it also gives you plenty of experience that’ll improve your overall skills – maybe the best thing about writing is that it lets you mix business and pleasure like that!