In Praise of Writing

I love writing. It’s the original mass medium. It’s accessible to nearly everyone. It takes very little expense or technology to write or to read.

Let’s look at how writing improves on speaking. What is written down can be improved, made more efficient and more beautiful before it is delivered to its audience. I find it profoundly respectful for someone to write their knowledge to share in an optimized form. A writer who writes well saves me time. First, carefully chosen words save time. Next, I can easily pick up what I need and skip the rest. Finally, I read words significantly faster than I can hear them. Time is my most precious resource. I appreciate writers who save it for me.

Writing has other advantages over speaking. The writer and reader need not be in the same place at the same time. Where would we be if Shakespeare’s plays had been improvised rather than recorded? Also, once writing has been delivered, it remains preserved. What someone has written down can be checked, referred to, and stays accurately historical. What was said shifts in memory. That’s why Samuel Goldwyn said, “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” And writing is searchable – that’s how I know Samuel Goldwyn is the one who said that.

I love books, too. I like holding them and smelling them. I like the look of them lined up on my shelves, reminding me that I could read them again. Or loan them out or give them away. I like how they last. I like how a book can be a long and substantial conversation. Whether with a kindred spirit or someone who challenges me, that exchange is extended enough to reach new territory. Someone who has written a book demonstrates more expertise than someone who gives a two-hour speech. Books are the antidote to sound-clips – and yet, books are entirely patient, letting me take them up or put them down as I will.

This is a challenging time for writers and books. The publishing industry and book distribution systems are changing. The number of manuscripts reaching agents and publishers are at an all-time high – while the number of books that sell remains steady. Other media gather more attention and money.

Yet the best speeches, audios, and videos are written first.

So Bridge of Words is about helping writers connect to readers. It’s about: the process of writing, to bring words into form; the process of rewriting, to make the words more valuable; putting yourself into your words, to bring the best you have to your readers; and delivering those words to your readers, so they serve their purpose.


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