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Writing Is A Gift | 500 Words

Writing Is A Gift | 500 Words

We consider our sacred texts to be gifts from God. While we know many are written by people, we attribute them to divine inspiration in a way that we do not tend to do so readily with other art forms.

Literature survives and transcends time in a potent fashion. The gifts of Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling have given joy, inspiration and wisdom to millions. And the scientific texts of our ancestors are the foundations on which we have built our understanding of everything.

Like mercy the quality of the gift of writing is not strained. It is not diminished by time, nor by the number of recipients.

Yet first and foremost writing is a gift to the writer.

When we choose to record events, ideas or imaginings, we celebrate them. We take a piece of ourselves and turn it into a something concrete. Through our writing (even on Facebook) we curate our lives.

And in doing so we improve our clarity.

While a journal is not intended for anyone else to read. In the act of writing a journal we perform an act of circumspection. We look back at our interior selves from the perspective of the blank page, and interrogate ourselves.

The single biggest motivation for my embarking on this 500 words a day before email project is that I know that I will enjoy it, and that it will be good for my mind.

For those of us who have had the privilege to experience the joy that writing for publication brings there is another gift.

The gift of setting free our thoughts and watching where they lead.

In my work at Scoop Independent News - the focus of my life's work to date - this gift has been always at the center of what we do. And at Scoop we have had another gift, freedom.

At the edge of the world, inhabiting a decaying media edifice, with only hints of the commerciality that traditionally undermines media independence, we have practiced an open approach to our writers work - i.e. we let them use their own voice.

Watching Scoop's writers embrace the freedom to say what they want to say, how they want to say it, over the past 13 years has been wonderful. It is all too obvious the very same joy that I experienced in the early days of Scoop remains as intense a discovery to every new discoverer of their true voice.

While too many former professional journalists are now struggling to earn a living through their craft many chose to do so anyway. The delight that these writers experience through the freedom to express themselves via uncensored channels will, I believe, prove to be the salvation of the craft of journalism.

And so the same internal gift which writing has given scientists, theologians, poets, novelists and prose writers of all kinds, for centuries, will sustain the art of journalism in the disruption ahead. Here's hoping.

- Alastair Thompson | 500 Words, Saturday, 23 February 2013 8.30pm

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