Writing… Final Draft?

What is this mysterious process we call “writing”?

The scratching of a well-loved pencil on the back of an envelope… The smooth strokes of a gel-ink pen on a crisp new notebook… the relentless tapping of fingers on a lap-top keyboard… These are the things we see, hear, feel.

But what is writing, in and of itself?

To put it concisely, it is the act of capturing abstract, complex (or simple), nebulous ideas, thoughts, emotions and images and transforming them into something concrete; something that can be revisited and tweaked and shared: certain symbols, combined in precise ways, and either hand written or typed out.

If you think about it, the whole concept is incredibly fascinating. We begin with an idea, a thought, in our minds: something that cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled.

Perhaps new connection is made between two separate concepts; or another angle of a problem is discovered, leading to a new and creative solution; or things learned in a book combine with events in life and with a sermon heard on the radio– and a totally new thought is born.

Now we have a message we want to communicate to other people, or an idea we want to remember: how shall we do it? Why– write it down, of course!

Simply by arranging certain characters in such a way as to create words, and then carefully placing multiple words to form sentences, and sentences to form paragraphs, we have the ability to convey our experiences, make people laugh (or cry), communicate new ideas, educate and inform, transform worldviews, entertain (or bore), discover more about ourselves, and a whole host of other things.

The truly unbelievable thing is that not only does the set of symbols I am typing here have meaning–there are also thousands of other sets of symbols that are arranged in completely different ways–and yet, they also make sense and convey images, ideas, feelings and stories.

Somehow, in the brilliant creation that is the human mind, we have the learned ability to translate these odd markings on paper or on a screen into words: words that correspond with something we are familar with elsewhere. They mean something–it isn’t just that we know how they sound: we also know the meaning behind them.

And not only are we able to recognize and comprehend individual words– we also learn to understand and arrange them them in certain patterns–which create a sentence: a complete thought; an idea; an image. Add many, many more sentences– and you have a story, or an article, or a book.

And when someone else translates the markings that you wrote down from the thoughts that originated in your brain, it impacts them in some way. (Hopefully the way you intended… this is where excellent writing and communication skills become essential to increase the chance of that occurring.)

Amazing, isn’t it?

And even more incredible is the God who invented the whole system. Think about it: all of this originated in the mind of God: Language begins with Him. Writing was His idea.


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