Re-thinking Writing | So, What’s Your Story?


What comes to mind when you think back to what ‘writing’ meant to you in school? For me, Weird Al just about nailed it.  Is it just me or was English / Literacy / Language / Writing just a litany of corrections and what rule to use when? At least, until I got to English in Year 12 here in Australia. But that’s another story altogether…

Divergent Thinking : Writing

Let’s think hard about the origins of writing and why we learn to write. What came before writing? Pictograms preceded writing – and before that, the oral tradition. Am I wrong then to assume that the evolution of writing corresponds closely with the evolution of communication, and more specifically, story-telling? I mean, aren’t all forms of writing just a type of story-telling? Whether you are telling a fictional story about a boy wizard, or a non-fictional story of what happened in Afghanistan, or empirical, scientific ‘story’ about what happens when virus A attacks virus B, aren’t they all just different types of stories?

Seen a good movie lately? What made the movie good? The plot? Characters? Special effects? What?

It’s interesting to note that after close to a century of ‘movie-making’, the industry still needs a written script to start the movie-making process. I like reading movie scripts, often more than I enjoy watching the movies. Why? Because the movie scripts allow me to feel and ‘see’ the nuances often lost in translation into the movie. With a written script, I can ‘imagine’ the scene. And that’s what writing is to me, far more than the literal meaning of words and letters jumbled to convey a fact. But, all that is about to change. As story-telling tools become more accessible and ‘efficient’, I think writing will evolve into something quite extraordinary. Seen this? What a creative way to tell a story… and what an awesome story too.

So, if we were to rethink writing – how do we diverge? For me it’s simple, we should get back to basics and focus on what writing was meant to do… tell a story… and evoke a response. What’s the point of writing if it doesn’t evoke a response??? And what has happened in the recent past that has given us the tools to take ‘writing’ and story-telling to a whole new level? Like this?

Which brings us to the next part of this post – Convergent world.

What’s converging in the world of story-telling and writing, you might ask…

They say, “A Picture Paint A Thousands Words.” So, what kind of a story would a video like this tell?

Awesome, isn’t it? If you check out the stories that ‘ordinary’ people are ‘writing’ about their not-so-ordinary lives using this technology, you would be totally inspired!

What happens when drones, cameras and ‘tracking sensor’ technology converge like this? What kind of stories will emerge?

There are so many different tools now available for story-telling… why are we still not rethinking ‘writing’ and how to help it evolve? As a calligrapher, I am all for learning and preserving the art of writing, but I think it’s time we start thinking about what comes after writing that both celebrates and innovates it, don’t you?

Hint : I think it’s got to do with what you see, and what touches your soul…