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Writing about writing

Writing is an invaluable skill which when used effectively can help us to communicate better and improve our lives significantly.


Archives from The Voice

The Voice is the student newspaper run by internationals at KU Leuven. Between 2018 and 2022, The Voice published articles on the Veto website under the The Voice section, combined with translations of Dutch Veto articles. After 2022, the section was renamed to Veto English. Since then, the section has been operated by Veto English staff only.

By David Abidaoud

Contributing Writer

How can I gain influence, money, success and respect? No, it’s not through a small investment in bitcoin or through my personal startup company. No, it’s also not about learning how to manipulate others or about taking this hot new online course. Don't worry, it does not require you to send me fifty dollars over Western Union (though you could still try - it might work) so that I can wire you ten million dollars left to you by your relative the late Nigerian price Mbunga the fourth. Actually it’s with a little magical translation of the subconscious mind through some muscle spasms in the hand onto a sheet of paper.

To the individual, writing is often a school-based obligation or an occasional hobby. Why do they teach us to write in school? Because it is an invaluable skill that requires practice, like any skill, to blossom. An average person is taught how to analyse text and write essays to tell stories. We learn these things because we will use them almost every day in our lives, if we need to write an article, an email or even a basic message to a friend. The applications extend far beyond just these, in fact.

The way we write deeply affects the way we perceive the world and to an extent the way we speak and communicate with others.

If we can learn to be structured in our writing, then we can be structured in life. If we learn to be concise, then we will be concise. If we are structured and concise then we will seem competent and collected. If we seem competent and collected people will take us seriously. If people take us seriously they will be more likely to trust us and give us opportunities and responsibilities. And we can only learn through repeated trial and error, with the help of feedback from our teachers and tutors.

However, school-based writing practice has an end. For the most part this happens after the end of high school or the first year of university unless you’re studying something like journalism. Afterwards much of our work tends to rely more on the content for grades on reports and essays. The quality of our writing however, is nearly never assessed directly even though an inability to reason clearly or to write well will inevitably lower the quality of the content we deliver. This, by extension would hurt our grades and performance. The only way to improve, as we know and have discussed is through practice and repetition but most of us don’t do it.

Unless it’s required of us we probably do not even think to commit to writing, even though the impact on our grades, quality of life, relationships and careers are enormous.

I am an engineering student who regularly writes for The Voice, international student magazine. The people in The Voice are other students (maybe like you) who are all considerate and kind people (also hopefully like you) with a deep passion for spreading information and dissemination of creative content. If you ask me, this is incredibly commendable because these things enable others to expand their own horizons with new ideas and if you’ve ever read The Washington Post you know that as its slogan states: “democracy dies in darkness”.

But more importantly, The Voice allows people to publish their own writing whether they are opinions, essays or reports. Whether or not you like democracy, the opportunity to grow your future potential and to assure better outcomes for yourself and those around you is invaluable. Passing something like that up was something I could never let myself do, because in my eyes it would just be irresponsible. I lose maybe an hour a week doing this. I gain something that I have no doubt will yield returns a thousand-fold. So, if I've managed to keep your attention for this long then I urge you to give contributing to The Voice a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and the world to gain.

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