Katie Fritsche, Writing Consultant
I know a lot of us sometimes think we don’t have a voice that matters to the world of writing. In fact, as human beings, we are sometimes so terrified of others finding out what we think, that we hide our poetry, our greatest work in the notebooks under our pillows and in our desk drawers, trying to work up the courage to share our voice but never really doing so because of what happens if people learn about the deepest part of ourselves: our thoughts.
In fact, you might be surprised to find that writing way back in the old days of Socrates, was not encouraged. Socrates once said that “When it has once been written down, every discourse roams about everywhere, reaching indiscriminately those with understanding no less than those who have no business with it, and it doesn’t know to whom it should speak and to whom it should not. And when it is faulted and attacked unfairly, it always needs its father’s support; alone, it can neither defend itself nor come to its own support” (Kalantzis & Scope 1). Socrates even himself criticized writing, and that there were dangers of lending our own voice to such a discourse, because after all, once it’s been written down, how can we undo it? How can we undo our voice that has been written out in such bold letters? Do we want to? Many critics might ask the question: it worth it for us to write, because isn’t there a danger that comes with putting our voice into something?
I would answer differently. I would answer that using our voice in writing, taking that risk, is important because we get to share the deepest parts of our lives with the world. To write with our voice is to help us feel human. To share our story is to become vulnerable, but it also inspires this creativity that drives us to become better through a written understanding of the world. Writing with one’s voice and sharing it seems like a big leap, but at the same time, I think it can be completely, truly said that if we don’t try, then we will never know. Such power exists from writing down our thoughts for the world to hear, it inspires healing for other people, it creates changes for us to network with others, and writing with our voice can even create future career opportunity that value the fact that we can think independently. I think that when we write, when we take that risk, whilst we may be opening up the doors to a lot of consequence, we are also opening up the doors to our future, because in this day and age, we need people who aren’t afraid to be outspoken, to speak their minds, because writing is admitting we have the right to express who we are.
And so, I say write, write with your own unique voice, open those drawers, take the book of notes and pen you have hidden, and make an attempt to share that voice with the world. Be it through publishing peer review, writing groups, or simply scheduling a writing center appointment in person to talk about your writing, I encourage you to share yourself with this world. Socrates is wrong: writing does have value! Take your voice, let it fly, and write yourself into the future.
Socrates on the Forgetfulness That Comes with Writing. Kalantziz & Scope, https://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-1/socrates-on-the-forgetfulness-that-comes-with-writing.