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Six Whys of Writing

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You pick a pen, grab a piece of paper and scribble?or, nowadays, turn on your PC, go to MSWord, exhaust your fingers on the keyboard?and you're done?instant article! That easy, and you're an instant celebrity.

It has been made clear that everybody can write. Why not? It's as basic as reading. Once you've mastered the alphabet, able to distinguish plural from singular and loaded your cerebral bank with tons of vocabulary, you're off to a good start.

Much has been written on the how-to of writing ? from poetry to essays to novels ? but only less on the why side of writing. Allow me to blab on that for a change.

Why write?

A semester of essay writing classes and four years of enduring journalism teachers who were fond of dumping projects with tight deadlines helped me come up with the reasons for writing.

Reason #1 Power

Writing is a good weapon in swaying opinions, influencing people's mindset and way of living and in fighting for causes believed in.

Being a writer, you can bask in the glow of glamour. You become a celebrity but most of all a leader.

Reason #2 Expression

Other than being a weapon of might, writing is a good outlet for your pent-up emotions. Also, it allows the graceful or direct presentation of opinions and know-how.

Reason #3 Attention

You can use writing to bring attention to an issue you deem important or to things unheard of, which you want to share. As for my case, the scribbled words became my voice.

Through writing, you can reach a great number of readers from all walks of life without exhausting your vocal chords.

Reason #4 Entertainment

You can write for people's delight, and even for your own entertainment when you've got nothing else to do.

Reason #5 Immortality

You can be immortalized through people's memory; the written works you leave behind would remind them of you and your ideals.

Reason #6 It's a Write-Or-Starve Situation

It's your job. No escape. Write or be fired.

Reason #7 For Others

Most of all, write for others, not only for your self. Use writing to reach out to someone who feels alone and misunderstood, and who needs all the comfort in the world. Use writing to teach a lesson. My mentors had made that perfectly clear to me.

Before, I was merely satisfied with creating a world of my own. I enjoyed playing god. However, I soon realized that to be a better writer, I must not write merely for myself.

As a writer, you have readers whom you communicate a world of ideas, and who are affected by what you write. Don't only think of yourself. By becoming a writer, you have taken a responsibility to the society. You are molding and reshaping somebody's persona.

As a writer, you move readers to do something. Lead them to the light; lead them to the truth. They deserve nothing less.

One of my mentors used to read this to me: A writer without a sense of responsibility is no better than the leader who goes on with his work without regard for the welfare of those he leads.

I have failed to remember the writer from whom those wonderful words came, but they are words that are not easy to forget.

Sheryl is a junior editor of publishing company CannonCreek Asia Inc., currently dealing with business news, and is a contributor to the Sun Star Daily Cebu. A journalism graduate, she writes short stories, poetry, essays and few novels.

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