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Chapter 1. Why Writing Matters > Captain of Your Fate - Pg. 6

Why Writing Matters 6 Writer's Block Don't make the mistake of as-suming that writing can solve all your personal and public problems. It can't. Sometimes the best response is none--especially none in writing. There are instances when the last thing you want to do is state something in writing, because it can come back to haunt you. · Protect your reputation.Two kids were trying to figure out what game to play. One said, "Let's play doctor." "Good idea," said the other. "You operate, and I'll sue." We live in a litigious society. Unless your asso- ciates tape-record all your utterances, speech doesn't allow you to document events, players, and blunders. (And if they do get it all down on tape, you could end up doing a Watergate--not a pretty picture.) Writing, however, enables you to build a "paper trail." This trail can serve as protection in case a touchy situation escalates to a nasty one and ends up in a court of law. If you've kept pertinent documents, you'll be less open to litigation. If a lawsuit does develop, you'll have the documentation you need to prove your side of the case. · Connect with others.As you'll learn in Part 3, "Write for Success," people write for different purposes. For example, you can write to persuade others that your point of view deserves se- rious consideration. Or you might write to explain a process, trace a series of events, or express your feelings. In so doing, you're forging connections with others. Writing is a powerful means of discourse, especially for people who have been traditionally excluded from the mainstream. · Be all that you can be.James Van Allen said, "The mere process of writing is one of the most powerful tools we have for clarifying our own thinking. I am never so clear about any matter as when I have just finished writing about it." Writing encourages us to be organized, logical, and creative because it invites us to ask ques- tions and to look critically at what other people say as well as what we ourselves believe. There's a symbiotic relationship between writing and thinking. Just the act of writing can help you learn. When you arrange words in a logical order, you're developing ideas and making judgments. Further, writing helps you learn to analyze and evaluate what you experience first- hand and learn from others. Writing helps you to think with accuracy and order. Write Angles Many people fear writing be-cause they haven't had much practice and they're afraid they'll make mistakes, especially with grammar and usage. Remember that making some mistakes is part of any learning process. You'll soon find that once you get your ideas down on paper, the grammar and mechanics will fall into place.