Why We Write

by Esther Elizabeth Suson

The first time Sir Joem Antonio of the Storywriting School said, as a matter of fact, that “we write to be read”, my ego (but not my mouth) sprang to the forefront in protest.

The reason that my omniscient university-freshman ego came up with then was that a writer should write what he or she wants, and readers…well, who cares about them.

Currently, I’m working as a freelance research-writer. The unique – and wildly scary – opportunity this affords me is that every word I write must be written to be read.

In university, it was easier to be concerned with beefing up bibliographies and pouring names and dates into parentheses than with whether or not the prof enjoys what is written. As long as that 1.0 is in reach….

With the focus on scripted formality, on structure and grammar and rules rules rules, it’s easy to forget…what use is scholarship if only the experts can read it?

Writing solid scholarship for an article is challenging, to say the least. In order to make the information palatable, we chop it up into bits that would gall the research-writer’s soul. We adopt a light, friendly tone that would make our professors cringe.

All to do one very important thing: engage the reader.

Solid scholarship is the backbone of a good article. It’s the foundation and the pillars and the roof, the door and the windows and the furnishings to boot. But if it cannot be written to be read, then it loses its point and purpose.

Recently, I’ve been addressing my diaries to “Posterity” and scolding them up and down. Apologizing too, and explaining, and basically carrying on a conversation with them. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that despite being mostly TL;DR and written with decided illegibility, even the experiences that I write will one day be read. Might as well prepare.


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