Why Writing matters

What is good writing? In business it rarely exists. Clichés grow like weeds, and few have capacity to escape jargonised documentation. Media organisations have raced to the bottom of one-line paragraphs and clickbait titles, while companies bid for million-dollar jobs with an introduction formed of lines recycled from the last proposal, replete with the same typos that went unnoticed.

Some have become used to this state of affairs. Others see it as an opportunity: a chance to break free of mediocrity, to stand out through genuine thought rather than the marketing department’s latest idea.

Good writing is inspiration and excitement, confidence and self-belief. It is depth of thought and sincere expression; it is learning and action at once. Good writing is clarity and cohesion: it is saying what you mean to say, and the other party hearing precisely what you meant to say. Good writing is progress without rush; learning without overconfidence; wisdom without anachronism. Good writing makes haste, but slowly. 

Writing can only ever be as good as the quality of thought that exists behind the words. “Copywriting” and “wordsmithing” imply writing devoid of thought—writing that had been mechanised, as though it were simply a matter of going through the motions. But writing worth being called writing is built upon deep research and incisive thought, so that it lifts our minds rather than simply taking up our time.

What is good writing? It is saying what you previously couldn’t put into words. It is speaking to posterity in words your eighty-year-old-self will still be proud of. It is giving a speech that people pay attention to, and talk about afterwards. Good writing is how we speak: it is language and thought at once. Good writing matters.

Wellington, New Zealand