Why writing still matters
An argument that was never needed until now
If you are reading this right now, I would not only like to thank you, but also congratulate you on something half the population of Canada might not be able to do in twenty years.
Very recently, The Reflector traveled down to Chicago for the National College Media Convention. There were a number of seemingly interesting sessions that were going to be offered, and the one that caught my eye the most was entitled “Why Writing Still Matters.”
Finally, I thought, someone is standing up for writing. Giving a voice to the words that helped give millions, both fictional and non-fictional, a voice of their own.
Sitting in that session, my premature enthusiasm was quickly replaced with disappointment as our speaker, Austin Peay State University educator Jake Lowary, instead talked about the dangers of social media for 15 minutes before doing a Q&A session for the remainder of the hour.
Why, Jake? Did you forget to read what the name of the session was written down as? That was kind of important.
Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the numerous innovations in technology are continually making writing more and more of a lost art. While this is happening over a very extended period of time, it is still an issue that is beginning to alarm writers, educators, reading-enthusiasts and the general public.
It isn’t the only art form to suffer. Rewind the clocks about a year and you’ll remember how the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America were going berserk in trying to get SOPA written in to law. Art is being abused, especially art that has a large business side to it.
For those of you unfamiliar with SOPA, it was the overzealous proposed law to stop online piracy. While it did have good intentions, they went to the extreme, and in the end did not pass.
However, the cries going out to save writing are nowhere near as vocal as any other art. Things like e-books are seen as progressive and helpful to the writing industry, where other industries have suffered more from going digital.
It is also a growing opinion that books have just run their natural lifespan. For those of you who still love printed, bound media, don’t Google the words “books are dead.” The following opinions will just make you mad.
We have a problem in Canada, which I imagine is also an issue in America, if not a larger one. The problem is that illiteracy rates are on the rise, and rising fast.
In a recent study published by the Canadian Council on Learning, an estimated 46 per cent of Canadians will have poor literacy skills by the year 2031. Factors that went into these determinations include demographic conditions, population growth and immigration patterns, and the results showed that 15 million Canadians over the age of 16 will struggle to cope in modern society.
The study did also note that the rates of those with high literacy skills would go up, but not enough to counteract the illiterate group.
We are starting to notice this trend today. Often there is a large divide between those who love to read and those who will challenge themselves to read and those who will go out of their way to avoid reading, as if it caused brain damage.
The thing is, reading and writing go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. Literally, there is no one without the other and vice versa.
So when someone is prepared to give a speech on “Why Writing Still Matters,” it’s my hope that they understand that these kinds of talks actually do need to take place.
Why does writing still matter? At its core, book publisher Michael Hyatt may have put it best when he said, “Books do for people what movies, television, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and social media will never do — fundamentally alter their world view and inspire them to greatness.”
Unfortunately, the most convenient way to explain why writing still matters is to write about it, meaning I’m already preaching to the choir.
Tell your friends to go read a book. Do your bit to remind yourself that writing is great and that we need to change our ways if we still want our kids to read.