The Power of the Written Word

The impact of an expertly crafted piece of writing should not be underestimated. History has shown that opinion, motivation and learning has been moulded by a series of great pieces of writing throughout the ages. The impact of writing an idea, thought or opinion is often far greater than vocalising those same issues. The written word has saved lives, inspired revolutions and furthered human development. Learning the art of writing is a vital skill and every human being’s right which shouldn’t be underestimates

Using the written word to ensure human rights.

The beginnings of modern-day democracy can be attributed to the Magna Carta; a document that signalled the beginning of contemporary law and basic human rights. This awe-inspiring text not only laid down a crucial set of basic rights; its inspirational use of language gave the idea of freedom an aura of gravitas that was wholly apt. The Magna Carta served to inspire the human spirit, and it is still a hugely significant piece of writing.

History is replete with examples of inspirational works which have served to inspire huge shifts in human thinking and endeavour. Martin Luther was able to communicate his thoughts and beliefs with regard to the Catholic Church in 1517 by using one of the first examples of movable type. This incredible example of powerful written thought was enough to inspire many of medieval England’s subjects to challenge the establishment. The Protestant Reformation resulted, and Luther’s ninety-five theses were credited with reshaping almost an entire nation’s dogmatic sensibilities within a few decades.

United States Constitution

The United States Constitution is one of the most striking examples of how a great piece of writing can inspire millions of people. This document was written over two hundred years ago, yet it still inspires American citizens. This incredibly powerful text still forms the basis of all American laws. The advent of the telegraph in the USA, together with huge printing presses, transformed the way people formed their personal opinions. Daily newspapers gave people unbiased accounts of international news for the very first time, and these publications suddenly had power to rival the most powerful governments. The ability to share opinions in this efficient way inspired various revolutions around the world. 

The Written Word Today

Despite the continuing development of technology, it is still the power of the written word that is continuing to change the world. The recent uprisings in several Arab nations have been fuelled by social networks. Heartfelt pleas for solidarity by ordinary citizens have brought people together in a way never seen before. Detailed written accounts on sites like Facebook have conjured up vivid images in the minds of oppressed people; these images of freedom and a brighter future were the driving force behind the recent citizen’s revolts. 

The Skill of Writing

The skill of writing is often taught to people in terms of rules. There are rules governing the correct use of grammar, punctuation and structure; studied by many in an almost scientific manner. However, writing should not be seen as a science. The best examples of literature, copy and texts are incredibly easy to read. Thoughts should rise from the page in a natural and effortless way. If something is easy to read and comprehend, it is highly likely that a great deal of time and effort has been put into it. Of course, many of the rules that apply to the art of writing are necessary, but the emphasis should always be on comprehension and style. The only way to ensure that written works will endure is by engaging with readers; the power to change the future of the human race lies in the hands of the world’s greatest writers. 

Learning the art of writing is a vital skill. This article was written in partnership with Faber Academy. You must feel not that you want to but that you have to write – Hitchens.

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