By Salisu Yusuf
Writing is the act of inscribing some signs, symbols and codes which a reader absorbs, encodes and interprets to act on, connect to, or change an attitude towards something. Writing is the fourth of the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. This, however, does not make writing the least important; in fact, writing is the most critical language skill in the current global context due to its perceived wider, heterogeneous and scattered audience and its permanence.
Speaking is also instant and irretrievable (at least before the invention of modern communication and broadcasting systems). You can only apologise after saying something. Writing can be edited and is retrievable. In other words, writing has some measure of revisability or verifiability. Every other form of communication is ephemeral. Only writing survives time because of its encryption. Moreover, the purpose of reading is defeated if there’s no writing. Writing has preserved divine scriptures.
Writing can make you happy because when you write, you instantly release a pent-up feeling. When you unburden, you feel you’ve got rid of something. Writing makes your day. It makes you great, famous and successful. Writers are known to have defied time and become immortals. Writers are immortals because their names defy times: Chinua Achebe, Khaled Hossein, Nuruddeen Farah, Newal Elsadawy, etc., are timeless names. The power of the pen has bound people and made the world better.
Good writing skills, the ability to convince, and the ability to communicate with a good command of language will likely attract a mass audience. These make public relations and propaganda tools for controlling narratives and persuasion.
One secret to writing is that writing widens your horizon and increases your critical thinking and sense of reasoning. It broadens your analytical skills. Writing makes you more sensible. It opens new vistas and can lead you to explore lands and thoughts that men have never explored. So, write, write, rewrite until you write the right.
Writing is, however, a slippery slope. Lest you forget, writing reveals you- it lets your audience know your personality, character traits, likes and dislikes, troubles, etc. This is because, when you write, you leave out gaps, aporias which the reader fills.
Though writing is a joyful venture, it can be a self-destructive escapade. So, know your subject matter well and write on what’s verifiable. Avoid defamatory, slanderous materials. You should know that laws of defamation cover writing, so don’t bring an issue that will likely injure the reputation of an innocent one. Men are dignified creatures. Don’t dare denigrate them.
Moreover, while writing, do not infringe on others’ copyright. Make your copy the right one. Copyright laws strictly bind writing; when you quote, acknowledge your source correctly.
As a writer, you should know that writing is fluid; it has no fixed shape. Therefore, it yields explications, expositions and interpretations. So, when you write, as Roland Barthes said, you’re a dead author. People rightly interpret your write-ups and derive multiple meanings. Therefore, when you write, you’re no longer in control of your text. You’re a dead author. Only the readers are alive and in control of the meaning.
As a writer, the sensibility of your audience is respected. Writing always goes with its moral appeal. I have not seen a fool as one who writes to level old scores, which hurts feelings. That’s the definition of a fool.
For some, writing is a profession. For others, writing is a skill, while some look at writing as an escapement. Whatever it’s to you, write and rewrite until you write the right.
Salisu Yusuf wrote from Katsina via firstname.lastname@example.org.