Recently, on Facebook, a friend shared a note her daughter had left on her bed. The thirteen-year-old girl wanted my friend to consider an important matter, and rather than discuss it, she put her request in writing. This is not the first note the child has written. This is how she addresses important matters.
Through the comments, I learned that the daughters of another friend text their important issues rather than broach the subjects aloud.
I remember writing letters to my own parents about important things, and several female friends have admitted to doing the same, so this is not an unusual tactic.
Why do you suppose we choose to write about important issues?
There’s a saying, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down,” that I’ve seen attributed to several authors, so I don’t know the real origin, but I do know that it’s true for many people, myself included. Why do you think this is true?
For one thing, thoughts can be fleeting, but writing is slower; it takes time. Slowing the thought process down may be key to thinking more deeply.
Also, writing something down allows us to see it, to see all the different parts of an issue, literally and figuratively. Gaps are revealed. We can then rearrange the parts, which, when they first come out, are often muddled, and we can fill in the gaps. This rearrangement and filling in, I think, creates order and understanding.
The technique used in Teaching College Students to Read Analytically is to have participants write about what they read. Teachers respond to the writing, ask probing questions, and students rewrite. Writing requires thinking.
Surely research has been done on how the brain functions while writing, but I’m not familiar with it. I’d be interested to know.
Have you ever written about something or written routinely, the way Aibileen writes her prayers? Have you ever chosen to address an important issue in writing rather than through discussion? Has anyone around you chosen writing as a way of communicating something important to you?