Why write?

Writing is a tool. And as any good tool it can be used for many things. Sharing information. Telling stories. Messaging. Influencing people to make the choice you want them to make. All these uses were clear to me for a long time, and they all were pretty self-explanatory.

There was one special use though, that I was wondering about for a long time.

Writing helps you think.

A couple of days ago I was flying from Lisbon to Krakow, first part of my journey to my home in Ukraine (why go there during the war is another story).

Right before the take off I stumbled upon an essay by Paul Graham called, ironically, The Age of the Essay . As brilliant people often do, he put in words precisely the things I felt for a long time.

I recommend you read his original piece, as he did a great job about describing the history and the essence of writing essays. But I will quote one thing:

In a real essay you’re writing for yourself. You’re thinking out loud.

But not quite. Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well.

And this really stroke a note inside. I knew for a long time that writing helps me think. I even joked sometimes that you need to sit down and write on the subject to find out what your real opinion is.

But reading Graham’s piece changed two things:

  1. This kind of writing now had a name. Essays.
  2. It gave me a good reason to publish what I write.

And now you’re here. Reading.

Thank you for giving me a reason to clean up my mess!