The Value of Writing
In 2009, I took a year off of school to live and work in Bangladesh. I decided to document my experiences on a personal blog and I'm glad that I did. I still read it sometimes and it immediately brings me back to those days in South Asia. I can hear and smell the streets. I recall the people that I met and the foods that I ate. Writing crystallizes the author's ideas and feelings while also communicating something meaningful to the reader. When that reader is the author's older self, it's like entering a time machine.
It's now 2022. I have two young sons and I'm running a small pharmaceutical company. Just like in 2009, I'm in a period of personal growth. Unlike 2009, I can't help but feel that the world around me is also changing rapidly, for better or worse. We're almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. It's quite clear to me now that no one really knows what they're doing, myself included. I want to understand myself and the world better.
For me, writing serves three main purposes: thinking, learning, and communicating. The primary goal of this blog is to improve my writing while learning in public. Even if no one reads it I'm imagining an audience; this vision motivates me to write well.
Thoughts are transient. They flit through the mind at random, disappearing as easily as they come. They are shaped by being recorded; for me, that's writing. Not only does writing ensure that they are not forgotten, it allows thoughts to build upon each other.
But a collection of thoughts is not immediately useful. If you can't describe an idea in your own words then you don't understand it. Writing, reviewing, and rearranging allows them to mature into knowledge. This process creates a tree upon which further ideas bud.
Finally, writing is the most efficient form of communication. A written article can transmit knowledge to many people over time and space at a minimal cost. It can be easily translated if necessary.
The problems that face our world require clear thought, new knowledge, and democratic communication. When properly utilized, the internet permits these functions. Too often our social networks incentivize the sharing of unfiltered thoughts without the rigour of composition. This is what makes blogs so important. Selective pressure is applied by the author and the reader to spread widely only the knowledge that is useful. I hope that this blog is adding to the signal and someday it may be amplified by a reader with whom it resonates. If not, nothing is lost. The act of creation was an end in itself.