Has Writing Reached a Dead End?

4 min read

If there are no readers, what is the point of writing?

One crowded afternoon, I met up with a friend who just came back to Ethiopia after finishing his studies abroad. And sitting in a random cafe, we started discussing how reading became less of a habit among the many. He, as an aspired academician, was telling me how frustrating it is to see the community diverting to visual materials other than books. Anything, but books. ‘I kept losing my interest to teach knowing how more than 90% of my students wouldn’t read the course material through and through let alone explore more than they were given to,’ he says. Looking back at this moment (a few months later), I have realized how deeply fretful it must have been to my friend. And thinking about it now, given how people are becoming more inclined to the visuals, it makes me wonder if writing has reached a dead end.

True. Long before the earliest writings of the Sumerians and the Egyptians were developed, people communicated with each other by a number of different methods. And mostly they did it with drawings (Visual proceeds the Written materials). But the drawings seemed to be less effective since humans went on and invented writing. In fact, writing was an advancement in human history, not vice versa. How we keep returning back to the unsophisticated is a real wonder to me.

Nowadays, people do not wish to read longer than 3 lines. The alpha generation (the generation since 2010) is even more at risk than any other generation. This, you could easily see in your younger siblings or relatives. I have two cousins who can’t eat without opening a TV. It is baffling to me how we came to this. Wasn’t our sophistication and advancement in every aspect meant to help us become better than this?

If there are no readers, what is the point of writing then? Why do we even write, I sometimes ponder.

Be that as it may, some raise interesting points against reading. “What is the point of reading and understanding how the world works if I cannot do anything about it? In a way, reading has tied my hands for I have a lot of information but I don’t know where to start to make changes”, they say. Not that I don’t understand the frustration nor am I trying to dismiss it easily, but the argument has its weak points. If you feel like your hands are tied, it must be because you haven’t read enough. There is always more to reading. There are always unknown books waiting for someone to pick them up. So, I would say: read more, and you will encounter the power of words. Or you would die trying, if not.

More importantly, writing hasn’t reached a dead end. Not as a job. Not as a way of communication. Not even as a way of recreation. The finesse will not die no matter how deconstructed the world seems to become. The ultimate understanding of an era is always found through writing. We have history at our hands right now because of the hands that kept inscribing. And the more the writings, the more varied perspectives we shall get. A closer reconstruction to the world we haven’t existed in. I doubt if we could understand the world through the acronyms in our texts 100 years from now.

I understand my personal affection for books is vividly expressed here. Not that I am ashamed of it. I love how it comprises a meaning in my life. Every day I can live in a different era, with different prospects and a varied worldview. And it saddens me how little I could read in my lifetime given the resources we have at hand. Yet, I try.

If you are a writer/aspiring to become one, stop the shenanigan and start turning the pages. The simplest rule is you must read if you intend to write. Keep the finesse burning! And sharpen your pen! And you will be certain writing can never die!

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